CM . . .
. Volume XIII Number 13 . . . . February 16, 2007
Jessica Meserve, a writer and illustrator who now lives in Edmonton, AB, uses only 136 words to gently tell this story of sibling rivalry. Some pages have no print while those that do have very few words per page.
Small has a sister called Big. When Small jumps, Big jumps higher. When Small runs, Big is faster. The presents that Big receives always seem nicer than what Small gets. For example, Big gets a parrot in a lovely cage. Small gets a rubber duck. Small feels that she always is overshadowed by her big sister.
One day, when Big makes Small very upset, Small retaliates and lets the parrot go free. Instead of feeling satisfied with getting even, Small feels smaller than ever, and so she decides to run away. However, this is not the solution to Small's predicament.
The story ends with Small’s rescuing the parrot from a tree when Big is too afraid to do so. Now the two sisters are on equal footing, and Small is now free from Big's shadow.
It is Meserve's colourful illustrations that bring the prose fully to life. Two-page pictures cover the inside and outside of the book's cover. The delightful, rural setting is full of trees, grass, flowers, bunnies, squirrels and insects. It is idyllic in contrast to Small's struggle. The pictures capture Small's feelings. Throughout most of the book, indoors or out, she is very tiny compared to the elements in the pictures. Often, Big's shadow dominates.
Small is a tale that will appeal to children from preschool to grade 1. While the focus is sibling rivalry, the underlying message is that it isn't physical size that makes a person feel big or small.
Jeannette Timmerman is a former teacher, consultant and administrator in the Winnipeg (MB) School Division.
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Copyright © the Manitoba Library Association. Reproduction for personal use is permitted only if this copyright notice is maintained. Any other reproduction is prohibited without permission.