Children have a natural love of learning and reading to them is one of the best ways to feed their growing minds. One of the earliest basic concepts children seem to grasp is opposites. Books are a great way to help kids learn opposites by comparing their sizes, colors and shapes. Through illustrations and simple language, children begin to understand that not everything is alike. They will learn how to classify objects and ideas and begin to sort them into categories by discerning their similarities and differences. These stories, some classic and some current, will help your child learn shapes and how they relate to one another.

Top 10 Children’s Books About Opposites

the foot book The Foot Book: Dr. Seuss’s Wacky Book of Opposites: From one of the world’s best known authors comes this poem about all the different kinds of feet you meet. Originally published back in 1968, it remains a favorite choice among both children and parents. It is filled with the quirky illustrations, rhymes and rhythms that unmistakably mark a work by the amazing Dr. Seuss. Children will begin to learn opposites through the comparison of various feet and their owners. The verses of this story cover simple ideas like wet or dry, but they also move on to show more complex concepts like high and low, left and right. Children love the funny pictures and silly characters. Parents love the fact that, while it still contains the cadence of classic Seuss, this is one of the least tongue-twisting of the good doctor’s stories.This amusing little story has charmed multiple generations of readers, with good reason. It’s colorful and fun, brilliant and playful, and just as wacky as the title promises
dinosaur roar Dinosaur Roar: Authors Paul and Henrietta Stickland bring their famous collection of dinosaurs to yet another children’s book. In the Sticklands’ books, dinosaurs might be the main characters but they are not really the subject matter. The illustrations do not feature just the standard cartoonish depictions but rather quite detailed, relatively accurate drawings of “real” dinosaurs. Despite wicked looking teeth, they somehow remain endearing and sympathetic characters who aren’t at all scary. Even small children will enjoy these playful dinos as they romp across the double-paged watercolor pictures.In this story the prehistoric pals are off to a picnic, all the while demonstrating contrary concepts like sweet and grumpy, spiky and lumpy. The short verses are definitely aimed at the preschool crowd and tailor-made for reading aloud. However, early readers will also enjoy making their way through the rhymes and simple words. Boys and girls alike will make this one of their most requested bedtime stories.
big dog…little dog Big Dog…Little Dog: One of the stars of the Beginner Books series, P.D. Eastman, tackles the topic by telling a tale of best friends Ted and Fred, two dogs who just happen to be complete opposites in nearly every imaginable way. The story shows us what a few activities in the lives of these two buddies look like. From house painting to driving, Eastman shows a variety of situations where a child can compare the doggies’ differences, culminating in a vacation gone awry. It seems our heroes’ accommodations have gotten mixed up and it takes the help of a friendly birdie to get it all straightened out. (Parents may recognize Eastman’s little bird from another work.) The pictures are simple but engaging with vivid colors and the verses are easy to read.Adults born in the 70’s will enjoy passing on the nostalgia of this 1973 release to their own children. Kids will keep coming back to this bright and entertaining picture book again and again.
yes yes! a box of board books Yes Yes! A Box of Board Books: This boxed set from author Leslie Patricelli includes three appealing books: No No Yes Yes, Big Little and Yummy Yucky. All three stories star an adorably diapered tot with a single curlicue who is exploring and learning about his world.No No Yes Yes sees the bald baby making a choice on each side of the page and shows the responses to his actions. Acceptable behavior wins a “yes yes” and its opposite gets a big no no. Toddler will love hearing these familiar words applied to someone other than themselves.

In Big Little, the expressive tyke looks at pairs of people, animals and objects to see how they differ in size. For instance, ladies are big while ladybugs are little. The back-to-back page format makes comparing each set easy, even for the youngest page turner.

The little fellow’s culinary experimentation takes center stage in Yummy Yucky. The same set up of right and left pages lets our young hero contrast the things that taste good and things that are, well, yucky

These opposite books, conveniently boxed together, are a delightful addition to a child’s growing library.

inside outside upside down Inside Outside Upside Down: The Berenstain Bears return once again in this story about opposites. The husband and wife team comprised of Stan and Jan Berenstain has once again created a soon-to-be classic story surrounding their famous family of bears. This time, the bears are enjoying the excitement of a cardboard box – certainly a captivating object of imagination for most children. Brother Bear is an intrepid explorer in the series, always up for an adventure. Brother Bear uses the box as a visual aid to help teach the reader about going inside and outside before he takes an unexpected ride with Papa Bear on his truck, much to Mama Bear’s dismay.The language of this story is simple and the pictures are quaint. Each idea is added to the next on the following page so by the end of the story, children have quite a collection of sentences and an array concepts under their cognitive belts.
oh my oh my oh dinosaurs Oh My Oh My Oh Dinosaurs: Sandra Boynton brings this color cast of funny dinosaurs to life, dressed in party hats and more outrageous gear. Her sweet-faced, slightly pop-eyed dinosaurs show children that opposites are fun! They dance, play volleyball and go to parties. The rhymes are easy to say and fun to hear and Boynton usually puts in a silly surprise somewhere in each book. Her books usually showcase crowds of silly animals and opposite books like this are is no exception.The author was once a successful greeting card illustrator, before having a family refocused her talents. She say she prefers to draw animals in part because they are such a versatile substitutes for humans, adhering to no rules about age, gender or ethnicity, and in part because she has no idea how to draw people. Her characteristic sense of humor and pure, child-like silliness makes her a rare type of author who can cross the boundaries and appeal to both parents and children.
what’s up, duck What’s Up, Duck: The beloved characters Goose and Duck are even more lovable for preschoolers in this introduction to the concept of opposites. Author Tad Hills has once again brought his feathered friends to life on the page, this time in a sturdy board book aimed at younger children. Fan of Hills’ Duck and Goose get to meet a new friend, a delightful little bluebird, in this addition to their collection of tales.Hills’ stripped down scenes make it easy for younger children to distinguish the theme of each opposed pair, yet remain fun and entertaining. The bright birds, green grass and blue sky are more than enough to capture the concepts he expresses. The simplified prose reinforces the idea of opposites with equally uncomplicated words. These two expressive birds and their friends teach what it means to be fast or slow, heavy or light. Tots will be grabbing this story from the bookshelf often.
olivia’s opposites Olivia’s Opposites: What could be more fun than learning along with a talented and stylish little piglet? Ian Falconer’s unique character might be a tad bossy, but Olivia is always endearing. In this story, she gets to showcase her many moods in a tutu, a long gown and high heels in her trademark red. Falconer uses red to highlight his charcoal illustrations, focusing a child’s attention on an item of importance. His sense of humor is evident as Olivia scoots on and off pages and shows a lion how to be really loud.From her “snout in the air” attitude to her special fashion flair, Olivia is always fun. This story is distinctive not only in its color palette, but also in its choice of pairs. Olivia gets to show coming and going, fancy and plain in addition to the more pedestrian concepts of up and down. Olivia is very likely to forever remain a favorite friend for many preschoolers.
opposites Opposites: More big-eyed beasts grace the pages of another fun children’s book by cartoonist and author Sandra Boynton. Her collection of kooky zoo and farm animals never ceases to draw laughs from readers, no matter what their age. Her humorous take on the subject of opposites includes tall giraffes and big elephants contrasted against short pigs and small rabbits, among many others. Her silliness carries on to the text, making this a memorable choice among the sea of stories most children accumulate. Boynton somehow merges silly with smart and makes it seems effortless.The author started out as a creator of many staple gift shop items, like cards and mugs, before launching into children’s stories. Her experience in the world of adult cartoons has given her an appeal that extends to ages well beyond the preschool set. Parents may find themselves choosing this lesson in opposites as often, or maybe even more often, than their children do.
two little trains Two Little Trains: This is a more complicated version take on the theme of opposites that will captivate both preschoolers and older brothers and sister. The story takes its reader on two westward journeys, with two different trains, at the same time. One is a big, streamlined train moving rapidly on its way. The other is a little toy train moving somewhat slower. Both will travel through tunnels and over water, but their experiences are quite different. This is a beautifully crafted lesson in similarities and differences in settings both homey and unfamiliar.The magical verses were penned over 50 years ago by the late Margaret Wise Brown, author of the bedtime classics Goodnight Moon and the Runaway Bunny. The art deco influenced illustrations recently provided by Leo and Diane Dillon as superb as one would expect from two-time Caldecott Medal winners. The Dillons have lent fresh artistry and imparted new life to a timeless tale originally release in 1949. This just goes to show that a good story never dies; it just gets redrawn.

Other Great Picture Books on Opposites

eric carle’s opposites Eric Carle’s Opposites: The tissue paper collage artwork found in Eric Carle’s works is unlike anything else in the children’s section of the library. His innovative picture books are easily recognizable and always enjoyable. He brings his characteristic style to the study of opposites, using animals as his objects of comparison. Children will love unfolding the flaps to reveal the extraordinarily vibrant colors of the pages and text, not to mention the accompanying art. The text teaches the idea of opposites with just one word on each flap so this story is perfect for toddlers’ small attentions spans, plus it’s a great way for beginning readers to practice their skills.
curious george’s opposites Curious George’s Opposites: Curious George has been getting himself into and out of messes for decades. His inquisitive nature sometimes gets him into trouble, but he always learns a lesson by the end of the story. In this tale, he helps children learn lessons about opposites through illustrations depicting paired ideas like climbing up and jumping down. In typical Georgian style, he lets pigs out of and puts them back into their pen. It’s nearly a miracle that George ever made it into print. The manuscript for the original Curious George was one of the few things smuggled out of Europe by creators H.A. and Margret Rey as the fled the German occupation of Paris.
night monkey day monkey Night Monkey Day Monkey: This is a tale of two different monkeys living in two different times, day and night, who meet in the in-between time near sunrise, when it isn’t quite fully either one. They take some time to experience and to learn about each other’s worlds. Peppered with purely British phrasing like “don’t be daft”, it charms from the first page to the last. Author Julia Donaldson and illustrator Lucy Richards have created a wonderful world inhabited by these two ingenious creatures. The monkeys teach children that if they spend some time in someone else’s shoes, there is a great deal to be learned from the experience.
skippyjon jones: up and down Skippyjon Jones: Up and Down: Skippyjon Jones is off on another adventure of the imagination, exploring six pairs of opposites in trademark Skippyjon style. The big-eared, blue-eyed Siamese cat featured in Judy Schachner’s series of children’s books bounces up and down and back and forth through pictures filled with color and movement. Without the full storyline found in most of the Skippyjon series, children are free to focus their attention on the idea of opposites. Simple and clear prose makes this a great choice for a younger audience than the rest of the Skippyjon’s stories. It’s still an appealing and fun romp with a remarkable feline friend.
opposites Opposites: If a little one is ready to sit in a lap and listen, he’s ready to learn a little bit about opposites with Chuck Murphy’s simply titled story. The sharp and vibrant pictures featuring ten pairs of opposites give plenty of opportunities for parents and children to point out and talk about opposing concepts like up and down as well personal characteristics like girl or boy. Pull-out tabs and hidden pictures make this in an interactive experience for its audience and it will be a frequent request at story time. Its concepts, as well as its tabs, are easily grasped and will be of lasting enjoyment for its readers.
black? white! day? night Black? White! Day? Night: This surprising little children’s book show that you really can’t judge a book by its cover or in this case a picture by its page. Written as a series of questions, clever cut out sections reveal that the items pictured may not be what you think they are. A black might really be a white ghost; a sunny day could be revealed as a starry night-time scene. These small surprises are what keep children coming back to learn opposites. Laura Vaccaro Seeger keeps her audience guessing as they turn the pages, maintaining the attention of even the youngest listener as they the pictures magically transform before their eyes.
maisy big, maisy small Maisy Big, Maisy Small: Only rarely does a title character transform her very self to make a point. Leave it to Lucy Cousins’ special mouse, Maisy, to step outside of the boundaries of convention and become a chameleon. Like any good leading lady, Maisy doesn’t just talk about thick and thin, black and white, fluffy and spiky – she becomes them. Each pair of antonyms gets special treatment from this zany mouse as Cousins covers each page with bright colors and uncluttered lines. This little volume really packs a punch, too. It manages to depict a full twenty-five pairs of antonyms from the front cover to the back.
kipper’s book of opposites Kipper’s Book of Opposites: The appropriately named and award-winning Mick Inkpen brings a lovable pup called Kipper to the pages of his series of concept books, including one featuring opposites. The expressive pooch is seen happy with his balloon and sad when it pops in the soft and touching watercolors pictures. He displays a brand new red ball in one page then shows us what it looks like when it’s old. He converts a long stick into a short one, not by magic but by doggedly chewing it to bits. This English import is a funny and engaging choice for story time and children probably won’t be satisfied with just one reading.
what’s the opposite, piggywiggy What’s the Opposite, Piggywiggy: Intense color combinations are the hallmark of a PiggyWiggy book and this addition to the collection does not disappoint. Brilliant reds and bright blues play across the pages of this children’s book, making it a visual standout among its meeker cousins. PiggyWiggy brings his stuffed buddy Teddy the teddy bear along to fly through this adventure demonstrating high and low, over and under, with matchless spirit. Christyan and Diane Fox have created a duo sure to be a hit with the milk and cookies crowd. The story hour may never be the same once PiggyWiggy takes over and that’s not a bad thing at all.
clifford’s opposites board book Clifford’s Opposites Board Book: Clifford has long been cherished by kids not only for his unusual size, but for his soft and caring heart. Before he became the adored big, red dog of TV and literature, Clifford was a small, red puppy. This concept book takes the audience back to Clifford’s origins to teach a lesson about opposites. He and his larger friend make short work of this tricky concept with easy to grasp comparisons between one dog and the other. One is wet; the other is dry. His friend is first; Clifford is last. Comparing and contrasting with Clifford makes it simple to become a pre-K expert in opposites.

Leave a Reply