Friday, October 10, 2008

Elephant Elephant: A Book of Opposites


Pittau & Gervais. 1999/2001. Elephant Elephant: A book of opposites.

Originally published in France in 1999, the book was translated into English and published in 2001. It is a strange little book of opposites. Some of the pairs work well. Really well. Others are just very very strange. A fact that didn't quite make sense until I got to the end and discovered that this is a French book. The French sense of humor doesn't necessarily translate perfectly for American audiences. (Some of the pairs seem almost twisted or warped. In particular they're "plugged" and "unplugged" illustrations.)

You've got your typical opposite pairings (big/small, wide/narrow, start/finish, long/short, top/bottom, etc.) alongside some more unusual ones (furry/feathered, angular/curvy, plains/mountain, plugged/unplugged, smart/stupid, broken/repaired, lit/extinguished, etc.). Some of the pairs were a bit disturbing. The illustration of an elephant on fire was just twisted, in my opinion.

Some wit was involved. I must admit to smirking a bit at the illustrations of the smart/stupid elephants...seeing as there were no differences to distinguish the two.

But generally speaking, this isn't necessarily the best choice of opposites to put in the hands of a small child or young reader. I know I would have been disturbed by several of the ill

© Becky Laney of Young Readers

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