The Opposite

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Editorial Reviews

Jabari Asim
The Opposite is a quirky little lurker who pops up here and there like those guys from the Blue Man Group, except he isn't blue. Fond of making mischief, he causes messes for which Nate gets blamed, leaving a trail of spilled milk and paint across the book's sprightly pages. The Opposite is clever, but young Nate is cleverer, and he soon arrives at a method for getting the better of his antagonist.

MacRae, a television writer making his picture-book debut, has created a wonderfully offbeat tale.
—The Washington Post

Publishers Weekly
In MacRae's diverting debut, creepily illustrated by Odriozola (Vegetable Glue), an eerie, pale-faced "Opposite" haunts a boy and reverses all his attempts at neatness. Nate first encounters The Opposite when it pops into his room, attired from head to toe in footie pajamas that match the wallpaper. " `Dad!' cried Nate. `There's an Opposite on the ceiling!'... But then The Opposite happened, and it wasn't there anymore." The transparent Opposite reappears in the hall, its jumpsuit blending with the green walls. It lurks on the kitchen counter when Nate carefully tries to pour milk and overfills his cereal bowl. It sneaks under a desk when Nate aims his paintbrush at some paper and splashes his teacher with watercolor. Nate's protests ("It wasn't me!... It was The Opposite") fall on deaf ears, so he gives the trickster a taste of its own medicine ("there isn't an Opposite standing right in front of me... I do hope it will stay around forever"). Odriozola draws pliable, rosy-cheeked characters whose long noses, dot-eyes and fishlike, shoulderless torsos suggest Edward Gorey's signature style. Her watercolor palette is sunny, but the mood is spooky, especially when Nate summons and banishes The Opposite. MacRae never ventures that Nate might be crying wolf. Instead, he shows Nate cleverly dealing with opposition and growing less clumsy as a result. Ages 4-8. (Sept.) Copyright 2006 Reed Business Information.
Children's Literature - Ken Marantz
Just like young Nate, we all sometimes wake up to having The Opposite in our lives. Nate tries to show this creature to his dad, but The Opposite happens, and he is gone. And so it goes all day. When Nate tries to pour his milk carefully, The Opposite has it splash up all over. When he tries to paint a picture at school, the paint goes everywhere but on the paper. But The Opposite disappears when he tries to explain. Then Nate gets an idea. When he says there is no Opposite in front of him, it appears there. Nate proceeds to correct his mistakes by declaring what is not true, until The Opposite disappears. When the Opposite returns the next morning, Nate knows just what to do. Young readers should enjoy figuring out how to outwit their Opposite. Odriozola creates a rather sparse world where Nate and his family remain the center of interest with The Opposite as the occasional intruder. All the humans look alike, distinguished by spare features, long, straight noses, and very thick necks. The Opposite has pop-eyes and wears an odd foot-to-neck coverall. Decorative patterns on clothing and walls enliven the endpapers and unusual art.
School Library Journal
Gr 1-3-One morning, Nate wakes up to find an Opposite-a mischievous-looking, pointy-nosed individual with a transparent body-in his bedroom. Thanks to his unwanted visitor, whenever Nate tries to do things correctly, the opposite happens. For example, milk ends up on the ceiling instead of on his cereal. No one else can see the Opposite, and every time Nate points it out, it isn't there anymore. The boy finally figures out a solution to his problem, turning his phrases around to express the converse of his true intent. When he declares, "I mean-there isn't an Opposite standing right in front of me," the creature is finally exposed. Interesting patterns and colors surround the bright white faces and rosy cheeks of the characters in the stylized illustrations. The figures are starker and more sharply angled than those featured in John Burningham's work, but they possess the same air of tongue-in-cheek humor and sophistication. Though not a first purchase, this book would make an interesting choice for storytime or a discussion of opposites.-Genevieve Gallagher, Murray Elementary School, Charlottesville, VA Copyright 2006 Reed Business Information.
Kirkus Reviews
British television writer MacRae's first foray into picture books personifies the source of a few common childhood mishaps as "The Opposite," a doughy, beak-nosed imp who does just the reverse of what little Nate intends. The creature, having already delayed Nate's getting up, reappears atop a counter in a saucepan hat at breakfast. Nate, always a careful pourer, watches as, "instead of the milk pouring down, it poured up, splashing against the ceiling and then dripping down all over the tablecloth." At school, during a chaotic painting session, Nate discovers how to outsmart The Opposite-by saying the opposite of what's needed. "The work I have done today is messy and untidy," he opines. Voil . . . ! "Nate's painting was now as tidy and perfect as you please." Odriozola's staid watercolor-and-ink pictures depict curiously expressionless white faces with tiny eyes and feverish red cheeks. Nate's leonine profile becomes a wide oval full on, with a mere dash for a nose. Despite a sunny color palate and appealing patterns, the mannered art flattens, rather than elevates, this one-joke text. (Picture book. 5-7)
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781561453719
  • Publisher: Peachtree Publishers, Ltd.
  • Publication date: 5/28/2006
  • Pages: 32
  • Sales rank: 554,235
  • Age range: 4 - 8 Years
  • Product dimensions: 9.20 (w) x 10.70 (h) x 0.40 (d)

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