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Saturday, April 5, 2014

big bug, written and illustrated by Henry Cole. Little Simon, Simon & Schuster. 2014. $16.99 ages 2 and up

"Henry Cole grew up in Virginia.
Little farm 
Big family


Now he writes and illustrates.
Little books
Big joy!"

It is SO interesting to see things in perspective!

It's a different world for little ones than it is for the rest of us. Not only are they trying to find their place in the grand scheme of things, they are also trying to figure out the world itself. While to themselves they seem big, put them next to an older sibling and that size diminishes. A sunflower plant may seem tall in comparison to themselves; plant it next to a tree and their perception changes.

Henry Cole does an admirable job of showing a young audience the concept of size and scale in his newest book. When you look closely at the front cover, you can see that the ladybug in question is indeed BIG. There is literally no space for anything else in the frame. The endpapers change that perception, showing a multitude of these tiny creatures crawling on a pale green background. Move further inside to the title page, and the font dwarfs the tiny beauties as they find themselves crawling on the much bigger letters.

He then takes us back to the original concept...big bug! Turn the page and a leaf shows the ladybug's true size:

"Little bug        Big leaf"

As we move forward, he keeps changing our look at this natural world, always adjusting the lens through which we see it. He tells an engaging tale as we go...of a farm and its environs, its buildings and even its inhabitants. All the while he compares one object to another. Once we can appreciate the vastness of the blue prairie sky, he moves us away and gives us a different perspective which offers incentive to stop and talk about what is actually happening in his beautiful artwork.

Bravo, Henry Cole! The text is spare and meaningful, the concepts of scale and spatial relationships are clearly laid out for our youngest readers, and the 'little' surprise at the end will elicit quiet murmurs of delight.

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