The Hueys in What's the Opposite?

The Hueys in What's the Opposite? illus. by Oliver Jeffers. 32p. Philomel. Jan. 2016. Tr $17.99. ISBN 9780399257704.
RedReviewStarPreS-Gr 1—Jeffers's minimalist, oval-shaped Hueys are back, and this time they're talking about opposites. A white Huey starts the conversation by asking a pink one, "What's the opposite of the beginning?" When no good answer is forthcoming ("Is it yes?"), the helpful Huey proceeds to introduce more opposites to his friend, such as "up" and "down" and "high" and "low." A cat who runs up a tree (but has difficulty getting back down) becomes a running motif throughout the illustrations. Blue, purple, and orange Hueys soon join the game as well, introducing such pairs as "light" and "heavy" and "happy" and "sad." Some humor is fairly sophisticated, like a Huey who can't tell the difference between a "half full" and "half empty" glass, and another who finds that the "lucky" fan that's washed ashore on his desert island "unluckily" requires an electrical outlet. Throughout, Jeffers uses his characteristic simple shapes and colors, placed amid abundant white space, to evoke humor, frustration, and surprise. As in many of his other picture books, the main text appears in a large serif font, while characters' commentary appears in smaller, cursive-style handwriting. Predictably, the opening question is revisited at the close of the book, when it's finally answered with "The end."
VERDICT An amusing twist on the traditional concept book by a beloved master of shape and line.

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