STARRED REVIEW
January 12, 2016

Getting silly with opposites

By Oliver Jeffers
Review by

The Hueys return for an illustrated trip through the world of opposites. If happiness is finding a coin for the soda machine, sadness is only a spilled bottle away. What’s the Opposite? starts at The Beginning and works through up and down, here and there, before tackling the heady concept of half-full versus half-empty. It’s enough to give a philosopher a headache; thankfully a Huey gets only a single crayoned curlicue’s furrowed brow.

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The Hueys return for an illustrated trip through the world of opposites. If happiness is finding a coin for the soda machine, sadness is only a spilled bottle away. What’s the Opposite? starts at The Beginning and works through up and down, here and there, before tackling the heady concept of half-full versus half-empty. It’s enough to give a philosopher a headache; thankfully a Huey gets only a single crayoned curlicue’s furrowed brow.

Oliver Jeffers’ characters look a bit like thumbs, or Minions on a bad hair day—loose ovals with faces and as many stick arms or legs as the moment calls for. Even a horse in the book has a fully developed head and body perched atop four single crayon lines. Their colors pop against white backgrounds, so the tiniest quirk of a lip can suggest a big smile. When an unlucky Huey is shipwrecked on a hot desert island, things turn lucky when an electric fan washes ashore, then unlucky just as fast with the realization that there’s nowhere to plug it in. Victory, meet defeat.

Kids will love this book, which has plenty of details to seek and find, and parents will appreciate that it’s exuberant without being shrill. Oh, and What’s the Opposite of The Beginning? You can probably guess, but you’ll have to read the book to find out for sure!

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