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Thursday, February 15, 2018

Seamus's Short Story, wirtten by Heather Hartt-Sussman and illustrated by Milan Pavlovic. Groundwood, 2017. $16.95 ages 4 and up

"He tries a chair (but it's

a stepladder (but it's

and running jumps (which
are hit and miss),

his brother's shoulders (but
they are not quite high enough) ...

There are so many things that tall people can reach! Young children have firsthand knowledge of that. Seamus is no different. Being vertically challenged is a problem for him. He has great admiration for those who can reach top shelves anywhere, the elevator button no matter the floor, the television remote, and anything else that requires height. The world is not made for him, or anyone else who is short.

He is willing to give up some of his favorite things just to be taller. Then, while playing one day he is overjoyed to reach new heights:

"He tries on his mother's high
high-heeled shoes.
He stuffs them with socks.
He tapes them to his ankles.
He even decorates them with his
favorite stickers."

They are the perfect solution. Now, he can do all those things that have so often eluded him. The television remote is his! That awful baby picture is gone! The top button on the elevator? No problem. He likes being tall, and even puts up with irritating sore feet. Will the feeling last? As happens with anyone trying to navigate the world atop heels that are high, there are certain occasions when being lower would be a real advantage.

Are those heels a permanent solution? Seamus doesn't think so.

Milan Pavloic's colored pencil and ink artwork is humorous and expressive, allowing readers to see both the angst and joy Seamus is feeling as he navigates his world, first short and then taller. Contextual and colorful, the images match the tone of the story and invite careful consideration of the many fine details.

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