Tuesday, August 22, 2017

Small

Small
written and illustrated by Gina Perry
2017 (Little Bee Books)
Source: Review copy provided by the publisher

I walk small. Noisy cars. Speeding bikes. 

A tiny girl feels swallowed up by the gigantic world. The city makes her feel small with its big streets and skyscrapers. Modes of transportation like cars and swiftly moving bikes are intimidating. With her small voice, our heroine orders a big hot dog and sits on a park bench to eat. Unfortunately, a plump of pesky ducks startle her and the hot dog falls to the ground. Her lunch is gobbled up. This seems to be the last straw. Downtrodden, she lingers down a path. Then a large slide catches her attention. If I read this in a classroom (and you should!), this is where I would have the right side of the spread covered. It's a great place to practice prediction. On the left side of the spread, the girl is staring up at the slide and the only word on the page is "Until..." This is where you can have a discussion about what she will do next. You can also talk about transition words and/or how characters change. It's a wonderful pairing of artwork and text. Now, instead of feeling small, she feels big because she can go down the slide. She dreams big with chalk drawings of unicorns and dinosaurs. I love how bigger feet are shown in the illustration as if admiring the smaller person's artwork. The young girl goes on to demonstrate in succeeding pages how she can be quite large. One example is where she says "I sing big because I am happy." With the sentence structure on these last pages, it's an opportunity to talk about cause and effect. I also think you could have a powerful writing prompt where young students write about something that makes them feel big. Small could also be part of a lesson on comparing or character traits.

It's so empowering for preschoolers and K-1 students to think about all the good things they can do. They need to see they make a large contribution to this world. For such a "small" book, this will be a big deal in your classroom.

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