Caramel has been a Mo Willems fan forever. He has already reviewed a book from his Pigeon series, another from his Elephant and Piggie series, and yet another from his Unlimited Squirrels series for the book bunnies blog. When Sprinkles heard about a new book by Mo Willems offering a different kind of art, she wanted to see what Caramel would think of the book. Below is Caramel’s review of Opposites Abstract. As usual Sprinkles is taking notes and asking questions.
Sprinkles: So Caramel, I know you loved all the pigeon stories of Mo Willems, and you even reviewed one for our blog. Now Willems has written a book for baby bunnies and other young ones called Opposites Abstract. And you have read it just recently. Can you tell our readers a bit about the book? What is it about? How is it organized?
Caramel: It starts inside the front cover by saying “This is STARTING”, and in the end, on the very last page, it says “This is FINISHED”. All pages have either a picture or three words. The pictures are very colorful and the words are like this: “Is this DARK?” or “Is this MECHANICAL?” or “Is this SOFT?”
S: So it seems like one of those books you and I used to read together and look at the pages and learn about opposites.
C: Yes. I think that is the idea.
S: So what are some examples of opposites from the book?
C: I already told you about STARTING and FINISHED. Another was DARK and LIGHT. The opposite of MECHANICAL is ORGANIC, and the opposite of SOFT is HARD.
S: SOFT / HARD and DARK / LIGHT are quite standard in this kind of a book, but the STARTING / FINISHED one is a good one. I also did not see MECHANICAL / ORGANIC in this kind of book before.
C: There is more that is not that typical. There is the INDIVIDUAL and the GROUP. And INCLUSION and EXCLUSION.
S: Those are interesting choices. What kind of picture is drawn for the INDIVIDUAL and the GROUP?
C: The picture of the INDIVIDUAL is like an eye, a single circle, it could also be a head, or a little dandelion. And the GROUP has many many circles and they are all connected to one another.
S: I can see how that is an abstraction of the idea of a group of people, being connected to one another, and the other one is all alone, but also bigger and in the center. That is cool.
C: But some of the circles in the GROUP are bigger than the others, too. Maybe it is kind of like “all animals are equal but some animals are more equal”.
S: I see what you did! We should put a link to Marshmallow’s review of The Animal Farm here.
S: I know you like mechanical things. What did you think of the picture for MECHANICAL?
C: It was interesting. There are pulleys, and a rectangular pulley system, and kind of looks like there is some mechanical production going on. Circles on the end of the pulleys and lights.
S: What is the opposite picture like then?
C: The opposite is ORGANIC. There are ovals, they look like cells or single-cell organisms.
S: So they look more alive and organic, I suppose.
C: Yep, and that is the word: ORGANIC. O-R-G-A-N-I-C.
S: That is neat! I am guessing you will not forget how to spell “organic” ever again. Anyways, what did you think of the pictures?
C: I think they are awesome. They are very colorful and they fit the word they are supposed to describe. Sometimes it takes me a while to think about them, but I do see them in the end.
S: I know, right? They are just ripe for discussion. So I can see an adult bunny reading this together with a young bunny and them talking about each picture together. There is a lot to open up.
C: Yes, you and I did talk a bunch about each picture. The word CALM reminded you of a book I reviewed before, and when you told me that, I remembered it was Albert’s Quiet Quest by Isabelle Arsenault. So much to think about and talk about!
S: So do you think other young bunnies would like to read this book with their adults?
S: Okay, so tell me your three words for the book and then we can wrap this up.
C: Colorful, wordless–
S: I guess you could say “sparse”.
C: Sparse works. And “opposites”. It is full of them!
S: I think that would work. So what do you want to tell our readers as we wrap up this review?
C: Stay tuned for more book bunny reviews!