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Octopus Opposites

By Stella Blackstone
Barefoot Books

2067 Massachusetts Avenue
Cambridge, MA 02140

Octopus Opposites is a hardcover picture book about opposites. The pages are bright and colorful two-page spreads with very short phrases like "Sea urchin out, sea urchin in." While the subject of the book definitely is most appropriate for preschool age, I found the best part of this book to be the illustrations, which are appropriate for any age. They even engaged my 8-year-old. Each image is composed of collages of snippets of paper, both printed and not printed, as well as paint. They are done in a similar style to Eric Carle except in much brighter tones. My favorite picture was the one of the sea urchins. Each sea urchin was created using purple tone paint chip cards cut into tiny pointy triangles and compiled into beautiful sea urchin.

In addition to reading this book and talking about opposites with my preschooler, I used the book as part of a discussion on art with my older children. We went through the pictures and looked very carefully at how they were created. My 6-year-old artistic daughter spent quite a while carefully poring over each page and examining the creation of the images.

The grammar police might get distracted with the text of this book because the "sentences" are not complete sentences. There is a comma in the middle of each pair of words and a period at the end. While I won't be using this book for copywork, it is a wonderful addition for preschoolers as well as art discussions, and I think it is a worthwhile addition to my library.

Product review by Marisa Corless, MH, The Old Schoolhouse Magazine, LLC, June 2010

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