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A Small Thing . . . but Big Hardcover – October 18, 2016
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From School Library Journal
PreS-Gr 2—What could be a more carefree experience than a trip to the park with one's mother? After exploring, however, Lizzie finds herself face-to-face with a dog—and she freezes. The gentleman at the other end of the leash "timidly" responds to some of her nervous questions and then encourages her to pat Cecile. This "small thing, but big [step]" gradually leads to other brave acts, from holding the leash to walking the dog by herself. Johnston's poetic dialogue is perfectly paced to indicate the paradoxical desire and discomfort experienced by both main characters, as well as their giddy joy upon reaching out ("'She is quite adoring being with you,' the old man said shyly."). Lizzie notes: "How springingly she walks," imitating the dog's movements. By the story's conclusion, the introverted man and child are "aglow." Hooper's relief printmaking and digital designs employ a summery palette with blocks of color, object groupings, and wrought iron grillwork to create depth against spacious white backgrounds. She makes strategic use of the gutters to produce mirror images of girl and dog, each with big grins; short black lines define one head with loose pigtails and another with perky ears. Classical statuary directs attention and adds symbolic meaning; other park encounters reinforce the theme. Hooper establishes a friendly rapport between Lizzie's mother and the gentleman from the beginning to allay stranger concerns. VERDICT This intergenerational tale of kindred spirits facing fears and finding friendship is certain to inspire courage in readers. A sublime read-aloud for small group sharing.—Wendy Lukehart, District of Columbia Public Library
"This intergenerational tale of kindred spirits facing fears and finding friendship is certain to inspire courage in readers. A sublime read-aloud for small group sharing."―School Library Journal, starred review
"Johnston's economical text about conquering fears also focuses on finding the good in each dog and in the small actions of all. Hooper's charming illustrations make Lizzie's brave walk an absolute delight."―Kirkus Reviews, starred review
"A buoyant book just right for reading aloud."―Booklist, starred review
"A lovely story about a transformative connection that goes both ways, as well as the power of modest revelations―beautifully summed up in the book’s title, which is also a refrain in the text."―Publishers Weekly, starred review
"The light-toned palette of the relief-print illustrations allows the reader to find little Lizzie and active Cecile on each spread, and Hooper’s attention to detail encourages viewers to notice both the activities in the
foreground and the goings-on in the background."―The Horn Book
Top customer reviews
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I too would have liked to have seen Mom clearly following in each frame, but she's there in the beginning and there at the end, so maybe we just have to trust her to keep her eye on her child in the park.
Next Lizzie gets to walk with the dog. First she is afraid, but then she does it. It's a small thing, but big. All dogs are good if you give them a chance says the old man. Not sure you can say that to a child, as some dogs have been mistreated and will bite. So, parents may have to explain that all dogs want love, but some are afraid, or haven't been treated right, and they will bite if they think you might hurt them.
But Cecil, the dog in this story, has had a lot of love from his owner, and he adores walking with Lizzie. Pretty soon Lizzie gets the confidence to hold Cecil's leash and the old man sits on the bench with Lizzie's mom and watches happily. It's a small thing, but big. The old man gets over one of his fears, too.
This is a sweet story which encourages conquering your fears. The illustrations are winsome, and help you feel you are in a park. It will make you want to get a dog to walk.
Other than that, a sweet book showing how the young and the old can learn from each other.
Written by Tony Johnston, illustrated by Hadley Hooper and published as a Neal Porter Book by Roaring Brook Press.
#PB #Fears #dog #youth #oldgeneration
Really? Really?! Let's use a little common sense, author. Boo.