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Wednesday, October 26, 2016

I DON'T WANT TO BE BIG, written by Dev Petty and illustrated by Mike Boldt. Doubleday, Penguin. 2016. $21.99 ages 4 and up

"You can't stay small forever.
An ant stays small forever.
So now you want to be an ant?
Not really.
Don't you want to be tall?
I have you to be tall for me.
You can just carry me around. That will work out great."

I hope you recognize this incredibly expressive frog from his first rant about not wanting to be one. In 2015's I Don't Want To Be A Frog, he provided a glorious voice for reading out loud to groups of little ones who understood exactly why he had that particular complaint. Kids would often like to be something other than themselves.

This time he has decided that he has no interest in getting any bigger. Should he do so, it is bound to change his life as he lives it. His father tries to appeal to what he believes his son ultimately should want - to be bigger! Wrong! Dad offers up a few reasons; all are pooh-poohed by the youngster. He doesn't care to meet the bulgy-eyed tree frogs. He doesn't care how high food is placed. After all, he has friends big enough to help him when he needs help.

He does have some strong arguments for remaining the same ... leg and head room, being able to find a good hiding place for hide-and-seek. On a 1-10 scale for being sure about remaining as he is, he sits at 11. It is not until Pig comes along to help him really understand the value in being bigger than he is, and to recognize that being big doesn't mean you have to grow up.

Mike Boldt keeps the facial expressions absolutely in line with each personality. The concerns on each frog's part are clear and comical. This new adventure is funny and certainly great fun to read aloud. Now, I just have to find a classroom where I can share it! I will be sure to take their first book along ... just in case I have some extra time.

Oh, and there is a surprise ending that just might provide a clue to Frog's next complaint!

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