Little Big by Jonathan Bentley
A little boy thinks that it would be much better to be big than so little. After all, his older brother can reach the cookie jar and ride a bicycle. If the little boy had legs as long as a giraffe, he would be able to outrace his brother up the hill. On the other hand, he wouldn’t be able to ride in the wagon behind his brother’s bike anymore. If he had big hands like a gorilla, he would be able to open the cookie jar with no problems. But then, he wouldn’t be able to fit in his playhouse to eat them. If he had a mouth as big as a crocodile’s, he could tell his brother to go to bed early. But then, he would miss him too. Perhaps being little isn’t entirely bad after all.
Originally published in Australia, this picture book has a lot of playful appeal. The universal feeling of younger siblings is that they wish that they were bigger. Here, that yearning for being bigger is combined with some even larger animals. The book tells the story purely in the little boy’s voice, keeping the perspective clearly that of a small child. Yet the logic all works from that point of view too.
The illustrations are a mix of watercolors, pencil and scanned textures. They have a warmth and vibrancy to them which is very appealing. While the thought of a small child wanting to be bigger is not unique to this book, it is the illustrations which make this a book worth seeking out. The animals that the toddler dreams of being like are his toys that he carries around from one page to the next, making for a book that has a completeness and wholeness about it.
A delightful book that shows littler ones that they have advantages too, this picture book is ideal for sharing one-on-one so the details of the illustrations are not missed. Appropriate for ages 2-4.
Reviewed from copy received from Eerdmans Books for Young Readers