Comparison Books: Opposites and Similarities

January 25th is Opposite Day, and in honor of this day our theme for this month’s blog is comparison books. Comparison books examine antonyms, synonyms, and degrees of similarity or difference. Opposite Day is a great opportunity to have fun with children while building their vocabulary and teaching them how to compare and describe objects from the world around them.

Here are three great online resources for lesson plans that teach antonyms and synonyms:
– This lesson plan utilizes “Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day” and a game simulating baseball to teach students opposites.
– This detailed Read, Write, Think lesson plan is sponsored by the International Reading Association and the National Council of Teachers of English. The author supports her lesson plan with theory.
Brain Pop Jr. provides parents and teachers with background information and activities for learning synonyms and antonyms.

In the list below opposite books appear first, while books dealing with similarities or degrees of comparison have been placed under the broader category of “comparisons.”


Augarde, Steve.
Big Nose, Small Nose. 2004.
Turn the wheels and lift the flaps to learn about opposites.
[Rare Book & Manuscript Library SE. Au41b (non-circulating)]

Blackstone, Stella.
How Big is a Pig. 2000.
Follow the trail of animal opposites through the farmyard as it leads you to the biggest pig of all.
[Education Storage Q. SE. B567h]

Cousins, Lucy.
Maisy Big, Maisy Small. 2007.
Maisy the mouse demonstrates pairs of opposites, including thick and thin, tall and short, young and old, and wiggly and straight.
[Education S Collection Q. SE. C836mai]

Cumpiano, Ina.
Quinito, day and night / Quinito, dia y noche. 2008.
In this bilingual book (English and Spanish), little Quinito and his family take the reader through a day filled with opposites, including short/tall, quiet/loud, and rainy/sunny.
[Education S Collection S. C913q]

Pittau, Francisco.
Elephant Elephant. 2001.
This book of opposites is illustrated with elephants showing concepts such as “big” and “small.”
[Education Storage SE. P686e]

Salzmann, Mary Elizabeth
Is the Treat Sour or Sweet? 2007.
This book uses colorful photo illustrations to show antonyms and includes a short activity.
[Education S Collection S.428.1 Sa39i]

Siminovich, Lorena.
Alex and Lulu: Two of a Kind. 2009.
Meet best friends Alex and Lulu. Even though they are different, they always have fun together. Until Alex begins to worry that they might be too different, that they might actually be opposites! Discover what opposites really are in this quirky story that celebrates differences.
[Education S Collection SE. Si456a]

Swinburne, Stephen R.
What’s Opposite? 2000.
This book is a photographic essay depicting opposites.
[Education Storage Q. S.428.1 Sw63w]

Wilbur, Richard.
Opposites, More Opposites, and a Few Differences. 2006.
A collection of light-hearted poems centering around words and their opposites. This collection, from a National Book Award and two-time Pulitzer Prize winner, includes the full text and drawings from Opposites and More Opposites, plus seven new poems and drawings about differences.
[Education S Collection S.811 W641o]


Cleary, Brian P.
Hairy, Scary, Ordinary: What is an Adjective? 2000.
Rhyming text and illustrations of comical cats present numerous examples of adjectives, from “hairy, scary, cool, and ordinary” to “tan and tall,” “funny, frisky, smooth, and small.”
[Education S Collection S.428.2 C58h]

Cleary, Brian P.
Quirky, Jerky, Extra-Perky: More about Adjectives. 2007.
An introduction to adjectives and how they help with descriptions.
[Education S Collection S.428.2 C58q]

Coffelt, Nancy.
Big, Bigger, Biggest! 2009.
Introduces young children to the language of comparison, synonyms, and antonyms, and features pictures of animals in all shapes and sizes.
[Education S Collection S.423.1 C654b]

Golden, Erin.
Big, Bigger, and Biggest Trucks and Diggers. 2008.
Readers will get to know different kinds of Caterpillar trucks and diggers in size order from the smallest to the biggest! Accompanying DVD features video of some of the biggest machines in action.
[Education S Collection Q. S.629.224 G565b]

Harper, Charise Mericle.
The Little Book of Not So. 2005.
Presents a series of comparisons, such as “Big,” “Not so Big” and “Tasty,” “Not so Tasty” on successive pages.
[Education S Collection S.428.1 H231l]

Hillman, Ben.
How Big is It? 2007.
This book features interesting facts about some of the world’s biggest things including giant squids, redwood trees and airships.
[Education S Collection Q. S.153.752 H559h]

Kompelien, Tracy.
The Pickle is Dilly, Cool, and Chilly! 2007.
This book on synonyms includes color photo illustrations and a short activity.
[Education S Collection S.428.1 K836p]

Merttens, Ruth.
Sizes. 2005.
This “Read and Learn” book looks at readers’ sizes in comparison to different animals.
[Education S Collection S.153.752 M558s]

Nieker, Diane.
Heavy and Light. 2006.
Heavy and Light teaches answers to weight comparison questions including “Is something bigger always heavier?”
[Education S Collection S.530.81 H227h]

Taylor, Barbara.
Mega and Micro. 2001.
This book by the Natural History Museum looks at the biggest, heaviest, smallest, and lightest animals. It includes interesting facts like “giant squid have eyes bigger than frying pans.”
[Education Storage S.591.41 T212m]