Comparrotives: A Grammar Zoo Book
Janik Coat’s latest board book, Comparrotives, is fast paced and visually rewarding. It features a parrot protagonist who undergoes many situations to explain to the reader how to compare a mild state of being to a more extreme state – for example, brave to braver.
Typical of Janik Coat’s work, Comparrotives is incredibly playful and entertaining, as well as educational. Coat achieves this playfulness through her illustrations, showing the parrot leaping out of the frame of the book to compare ‘bouncy’ to ‘bouncier’; becoming almost entirely hidden in snow as it demonstrates how being ‘cold’ becomes being ‘colder’; and, in a particularly hilarious double-page spread, demonstrating how being ‘close’ becomes being ‘closer’, toying with the reader’s expectations of distance and personal space to comedic effect. The text declares the state of being on the left side of the double spread below the illustrations and its more extreme version on the right side, also below the illustrations. The illustrations are colourful and cleverly rendered, with our favourite block-colour parrot encountering new and even more challenging states of being with each turn of the page. Overall, Comparrotives offers the reader a verbal learning experience as well as a visually rewarding and deeply entertaining read. While the former would benefit new readers most, its humorous visuals would appeal to an older audience also.