From Publishers Weekly
As the debut for Sellers's new comics line—Not-for-Children Children's Books—David Quinn and Michael Davis's The Littlest Bitch
makes for an odd kind of statement, and not one that is likely to catch on with either adults or the children who buy it by mistake. The titular protagonist, Isabel, is a preternaturally mature little girl who rules her family's house with the iron fist of the spoiled brat. Isabel is not just an overindulged child, she's also a kind of early-blooming corporate raider (she writes a note to herself to have a family holiday photo incinerated before Business Week
profiles me on my first IPO). Once she's grown up, Isabel doesn't manage to grow any taller. She does get even meaner and tougher, executing corporate synergies from a corner office where she sits like an evil little doll, her feet not even touching the floor. Isabel of course gets her comeuppance, but that's essentially what passes for satire in Quinn and Davis's heavy-handed tale, related with glimmers of faux bedtime-story charm. Although Devereaux delivers the full-page illustrations with the correct level of Grimmsian exaggeration, the perfunctory story doesn't live up to its dark comedic promises.(Apr.)
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I loved reading this. At the very least, this is a clever and entertaining book that poignantly combines the precocious know-it-all and boss-of-it-all -isms of your typical four year old with that of a ruthless, corporate something-kinda-adult, focusing on a little girl who quickly pushes all the way to the top, burning bridges everywhere she goes. It's a perfect mix and it got me wondering why I hadn t seen the obvious similarities before. If one wants to take a closer look, I think even more can be taken from it. The George Bernard Shaw quote We don't stop playing because we grow old; we grow old because we stop playing comes to mind. In this case, though, our little friend, Isabel, doesn t grow old. As a matter of fact - she doesn t "grow" at all. And at some point, her lack of emotional maturity messes up her guts, and she starts physically shrinking. Poor Isabel? Sure, at first. Her initial bossiness is hilarious, it doesn't matter that it's mean. But just like in real life, it begins to get old, even though she never does. She just gets smaller and smaller and everyone outgrows her. Eventually, she is so small that her worst nightmare comes true. She gets (literally) eaten for breakfast. The structure isn t quite that of your typical children s book - which would have a relatively simple conflict that children can identify with -- but that doesn t really matter because it s not a children s book, hence the subtitle. As a matter of fact, any of the criticism that I would have for it from the point-of-view of a children s book enthusiast is moot. This isn't a children s book, so it doesn't have to play by their rules. Initially I was disappointed that it was in black and white. But because it is, you can be sure that few children are going to choose to read it over Llama Llama Red Pajama. The format is really interesting. It s narrated by Isabel s Mummy. Every time you turn a page, her narration is on the left and the comics are on the right. So, there you have your comic!! (The comics have bubbles, so there's plenty to read!) I'm sure that it could have been done completely in comic book form. But I don't think it would have been as clever that way. Isabel is drawn with a perfectly set bob with a thick set of bangs accenting her cat-like yet dead eyes. She s got a big head. I m sure the pun is intended. No other face, when we see a face, is drawn like hers. Her siblings both have circular eyes, brown hair and are long and lanky juxtaposing Isabel s blonde angles. In most frames, she s this tiny, angular intense thing in opposition to everything around her whether it be her huge desk chair or father. As she gets smaller and smaller, the pearls that used to hug her neck get longer and longer. It s truly delightful to see her eventually become half the size of a strip of bacon on her mother s breakfast plate. And I don t think it s any coincidence that on page six while referring Beth from Little Women as a wimp , Isabel also says, In the Real World she d be eaten for breakfast. Food for thought? (Ba-dump-bum. I m here all week. Please tip your servers!) It s just funny to mediate on the similarities between four-year-olds and cutthroat big wigs. When I worked as a temp in private equity I certainly witnessed my fair share of the adult version of temper tantrums, possibly just as many as I see in preschool? At least they don't curse so much in preschool. --Nina Stone - The Factual Opinion