Animal Opposites : A Pop-Up Book written and illustrated by Petr Horáček is an absolute delight to read, which is exactly what a pop-up book has to be to get my attention. I love pop-up books but, after reading them out loud to my kids for almost twenty years, I have some very high standards. While opposites is a common theme in books for the littlest listeners, it is one that is not often improved upon, but Animal Opposites : A Pop-Up Book does.
Horáček's illustrations are bright and crisp, reminiscent of Eric Carle's and his pacing are what make this book. Even if you might expect the pairing - a short dog with a tall giraffe, the surprise under the flap or behind the fold is always a treat. The spiky porcupine's quills move back and forth so that it looks like he is raising them. The flap on the heavy hippo page opens to reveal a light butterfly, delicately colored and flapping its wings.
A white goose leads to a colorful peacock, a weak mouse leads to a strong gorilla. My favorite page hast to be the still sloth and the bouncy kangaroo, but for delight and effect, the best page is the last where a small lady bug sits opposite a cheerful orange page that unfolds and unfolds and unfolds into a BIG ELEPHANT!