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HIPPOPPOSITES by Janik Coat is yet another fantastic book from Abrams Appleseed, the new imprint from Abrams Books dedicated to instilling a love of books in babies and toddlers by publishing books that will "foster the development of its young readers and engage them and their adults in artful, beautifully conceived books." I love this philosophy and I adore every book that they have put out thus far, from the visually dazzling Pantone Colors book that takes learning your colors to a whole new level, to Huff & Puff by Claudia Rueda and the fantastically fun Get Dressed by Seymour Chwast. I don't have any readers in the house who require board books anymore, but I own these books and will pull them out and read them from time to time because they are all creatively out of the ordinary, beautifully put together and fun to read. The next time I need a baby shower gift or birthday gift for a toddler, these are the books I am giving.

As the parent of three kids, I have to confess that reading about and learning these rudimentary basics was a dull task by the time my youngest was ready to read and not eat the books. Abrams Appleseed are notable and innovative in the artistic and new ways that they approach these tired old subjects. After letters and numbers, what's next to learn? Opposites. And there are plenty of board books on the shelves that cover this concept but none of them that do so with the visual appeal, clarity and crispness that Coat brings to the theme.

Of course Coat covers the standard opposites like small and large, light and dark. But invisible and visible? That's a new one, and especially fun when you try to imagine an invisible hippopotamus. And that is the true fun and delight in this book. Well, the hippo and Coat's brilliant design sense. Coat also brings a bit of the artist to her book with opaque and transparent, positive and negative, squared and rounded and clear and blurry to more common opposites like full and empty and soft and rough (YES! this is also a "touch and feel" book!)

I love Coat's sense of humor, too, as displayed above. She ends her wonderful book with alone and together and we see a little bird perched on the hippo's rump. For hippo lovers out there, this might be a good time to seek out Tomie de Paoloa's wonderful Bill and Pete books...


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