Making comparisons is one of the basic ways in which all of us — in particular, children — learn to make sense of the world. Which also explains the proliferation of picture books on opposites.
There’s something inexplicably cozy and friendly about sheep — which is probably one of the reasons people choose to visualise counting them instead of, say, teddy bears, when they need to lull themselves to sleep. Hence, it’s no surprise a book starring cute anthropomorphic sheep would be equally appealing.
Opposites is a cute book that uses short rhyming phrases and a lovable cast of animals to illustrate the concept of opposites.
In, Out and All Around is a quirky search-and-find book where kids will also learn about prepositions and opposites while following the simple instructions. There’s also a side activity involving looking for the animals who are “going to a party” — the great thing is, this can mean that the animal is wearing a hat, makeup or some ‘party-appropriate’ accessory, which makes the search unpredictable and fun.
Oh My Oh My Oh Dinosaurs! is a simple and fun board book that uses short rhyming phrases and dinosaurs to illustrate opposites.
Curious George: Bigger and Smaller is a great book that helps toddlers learn about making comparisons in size, with clever fold-out pages that clearly and progressively illustrate the use of superlatives e.g comparing something that is “high” vs. something that is considered to be “higher”, and finally, what it means for something to be considered the “highest”.
As the title suggests, Maisy’s Big Flap Book is bigger than the usual board book, but it’s good value for the variety of concepts — shapes, colours, numbers, opposites — that children will learn through opening the many sturdy little flaps scattered throughout the book — great for developing small motor skills!
This book also has a long ‘shelf-life’ in terms of the quality of the paper and print — the colours remain bright and the flaps hold up well despite having been manhandled numerous times by two sets of tiny fingers — as well as how long it will keep the child’s interest: my children still take it out to read every now and then despite them having read it countless times before!
Dinosaur Roar is a great board book that uses colourful, non-threatening dinosaurs to introduce opposites to babies and young toddlers. The short rhyming phrases are catchy and easy to memorise, while the lovable illustrations are well-rendered and perfectly expressive, making it easy for children to see the contrast between the dinosaurs being compared, e.g. “Dinosaur roar, dinosaur squeak; dinosaur fierce, dinosaur meek.”