How Big is Too Small by Jane Godwin and Andrew Joyner

Older brothers can be so mean to their younger siblings.

Poor Sam in How Big is Too Small, is constantly excluded from his older brothers ‘big’ games with his ‘bigger’ friends. “You’re too small,” they constantly remind him.

Playing on his own in his bedroom, Sam has time to reflect and compare….

His big brother is actually smaller than their dad, “next to my dad…my brother is small.

And that ant on the floor is smaller still, yet “an ant is the right size for ants, I suppose.”

Sam moves on to compare raindrops and cloud, seeds and trees, buildings and cities…until his big brother interrupts him. Their ball is stuck on the roof and the need someone smaller to scale the trellis.

Godwin could have ended the story there with the usual ‘small has its uses too’ theme, but she takes her ideas one step further.
On the roof, Sam not only meets a new friend who accepts him for the size he is now, but when they look down at the big brother on the ground, their perspective makes him look small now.

I loved Godwin’s rhyming text. It’s a pleasure to read out aloud.
Only one word felt out of place because it suddenly made the rhyme obvious and a bit clunky. But maybe, it’s just me being picky….

Joyner’s illustrations skillfully enhance all Godwin’s comparisons and perspectives.
They honour the introspective child who takes notice of the world around him. Close inspection also reveals extra clues to the observant reader.

I predict a 2016 CBCA shortlist nomination for this thoughtful, charming picture book.

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