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Monday, June 1, 2015

There's No Such Thing as LITTLE, written and illustrated by LeUyen Pham. Alfred A. Knopf, Random House. 2015. $20.99 ages 2 and up

"A little tree?

No, a generous tree.

A little fish?

No, a brave fish.

A little idea?

No, a fantastic idea."

Nobody wants to be called 'little', do they? Especially kids who already feel vulnerable, always wanting to be bigger than they are. The two children whose tale is told here are exactly the same. They do not like being called little; they tell us so up front:

"Everyone says I'm little.
I really don't agree.
If only they could see what I see
When I look at me."

They go on to remind us that 'there's no such thing as little'.

They follow that premise with proof positive that little is in the eye of the beholder. In a series of peep hole pages, they first ask a question concerning our assumptions for 'little'. Is a candle a little light? Peek through to the next page. You will see that little candle's light is the beacon on a lighthouse. We all know it is not a little light at all.

Each turn of the page offers up another question about something that we can assume to be little. We are quickly shown that those assumptions could not be more wrong. Kids will love the peepholes, and the accessible text which will soon have them reading the book all on their own. Carefully chosen language makes this a book full of fun, showing the reader just how much power little things can have. In each case, little is replaced by a stronger word that aptly describes the item much more clearly.

The colors are bold, the design attractive and enticing, the message clear to the 'little' ones who are sure to share it repeatedly. Infinitely inviting for the young, and worthy of our attention. This is a book that begs to have a place on a child's personal library shelf.

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