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Friday, November 6, 2015

Drive: A Look at Roadside Opposites. By Kellen Hatanaka. Groundwood Books, 2015. $16.95 ages 2 and up

"Worm's-eye view

Bird's-eye view"

The stunning design and very effective artwork that enhance the pages of this book make understanding the concept of opposites an easy task for little ones. The added benefit is that it ups their vocabulary in the best possible way!

There are few words, and those used will help to build a sight vocabulary of useful words for those wanting to read on their own. We begin at home, watching a station wagon loaded to the hilt, start. As they travel away from their home, and alongside a variety of scenes, two opposite words are evident on each double spread. Their destination is a cabin, their trip is lengthy, and the many vistas they see may or may not be familiar to a young audience.

However, there is much opportunity for discussion and quiet close looks. The artwork was 'created digitally, using hand-drawn patterns and textures.' They are busy and clearly illustrate the concepts being considered. While the view always is horizontal, there are many changes in perspective for young readers to explore as they accompany the unseen family on their trip. The scenes are busy and will delight, especially the double gatefold in the center which helps the reader to understand the difference between the view that a worm sees from his place on the ground, and that same scene in the view of a bird who soars above it. It is a wonderful companion to Kellen Hatanaka's debut, Work: An Occupational ABC.

Harmonious in its execution, this book is sure to garner discussion and advance learning for its target audience. It is also proof positive that the destination is not always as important as the journey.

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