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Big Words for Little People Hardcover – September 9, 2008

4.5 out of 5 stars 129 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com Review

I know some Big Words.
I'll teach them to you.
Although you are small,
you can use Big Words too.

Big Words aren't scary.
They're big fun to learn.
I was taught once
and now it's your turn.

The eighth hilarious picture book by the #1 New York Times bestselling team of Jamie Lee Curtis and Laura Cornell helps little people communicate in a big person's world. With grown-up words like cooperate, respect, patience and considerate, a big, boisterous and zany family celebrates the power of language and discovers that words—big or little—are the bridge that connects us all.

About the Author

Jamie Lee Curtis loves big words but doesn't know how to spell many of them. She adores her family life, which includes the amazing Annie, the miraculous Tom and the hilarious and loving Christopher. She advocates for children around the world and appreciates her friends, family and colleagues. She lives in stunning and sunny southern California with her rotund dog, Frances.

A Look Inside Big Words for Little People (Click on Images to Enlarge)

"I Know Some Big Words..." "Perseverance Is to Try and to Try..."

From School Library Journal

PreSchool-Grade 2—Throughout the trials and errors of growing up, children are bound to hear some big words from the adults around them—words that are big in size and in meaning. In rhyming verse, Curtis explains some of these important terms and just when young listeners might encounter them. "If you need some time/to just be alone,/for doing weird dancing,/to sit still as stone,/if someone is there/and you need to pee,/then say loud and clear, 'Hey, I need PRIVACY!'" Through the course of an average day, the spunky multicultural siblings depicted in Cornell's childlike watercolors encounter many other concepts, including "consequence," "cooperate," "appropriate," "patience," "family," "respect," and "love." Each word is highlighted in hand lettering by the illustrator. Some of the verses are awkwardly worded in order to complete the rhyme, but the author's fans are unlikely to care. More notably, Curtis once again demonstrates her trademark sensibility for childhood's simultaneously awkward and silly moments while focusing on the positive values learned from these experiences. Cornell keeps the tone ever lighthearted with her charmingly busy illustrations. This is a solid addition to any picture-book collection and a must-have where the author has a strong following.—Jayne Damron, Farmington Community Library, MI
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

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Product Details

  • Age Range: 4 - 8 years
  • Grade Level: Preschool - 3
  • Hardcover: 40 pages
  • Publisher: HarperCollins (September 9, 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0061127590
  • ISBN-13: 978-0061127595
  • Product Dimensions: 0.5 x 11.2 x 9.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (129 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #95,834 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover
I bought this for my neice yesterday because she has two other books by Jamie and they are favourites of hers, so this was an obvious choice. It already seems like a winner.
While teaching 'big words' to little people, she is also teaching mini lessons. For example, when she teaches the word Consequence, she says to them - "When you're at school and you get in trouble, for chewing your gum, and exploding a bubble, and you stay inside when your friends get to play, your consequence is no recess that day". And there is story about when shopping, if people get irrate, then you should cooperate. So it's a book that helps children understand these big words that we use with them.
As usual, the illustrations are fantastic and colorful and fun, and the words and lessons are great for them and there is so much to learn in here. I especially love when they talk about the most important word Love at the end of the book. "Love is the biggest big word of all, four little letters that help you walk tall, love is your family, your siblings, your friends, love is your ocean without any end". Jamie is a great 'teacher' for kids. She has a great way with words and making learning fun. This book is fantastic and really enjoyable for kids (and adults reading it to the kids). I highly recommend this and am sure everyone will have hours of fun reading and re-reading it again and again.
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Format: Hardcover
Do you want to be in a good mood when you read to your tykesters and tykestresses? Buy this book! It's chicken soup for the reader's soul.

Can you remember when you were little and liked to play with words, almost like putting together alphabet blocks in the air to amaze people? Jamie Lee Curtis and Laura Cornell evoke that wondrous moment in childhood and provide parents, grandparents, aunts, and uncles with a resource to prepare the younger set to share some stunning pronouncements that will amaze casual observers.

Characterizing the book that way isn't really accurate. There are wheels within wheels here; orbs that will charm those who are looking for other sorts of entertainment. Here's an example: In our family, all the wee ones loved searching for tiny hidden items in puzzle books. Big Words for Little People has tiny drawings and labels throughout that invite and reward minute inquiry. For instance, the two-page spread on "consequence" contains a note that a frog and six little ones are missing from the terrarium. Tiny dots of green reveal bits and pieces of the escapees in humorous spots.

Adults like little surprises, too. Tiny notes and signs provide much adult humor that can be shared with youngsters . . . or simply chuckled over by the reader (such as the "Glowy Teeth" toothpaste with bleach and antibiotics).

There's an important context here: The words, stories, and illustrations are intended to convey useful principles for having a large, loving family enjoy each others' company. We have a mom and dad, six rambunctious youngsters in all shapes and sizes, and various pets. The beauty-obsessed sister needs some privacy to put on her face goo. Frantic mom is struggling to head for school and can't find the car keys.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I will start off by saying that I feel the book is for a little bit older kids, older than my five year old anyway. He just didn't seem too thrilled with the book's words so much (sorry Jamie Lee Curtis) as he has never played duck duck goose and has no clue what G-rated vs. PG-13 is. One of the last lines of the book is as follows: "And the next time a grown-up thinks you don't have sense, show them with Big Words your intelligence!" This just didn't fly with me. I don't want my child thinking grown-ups think that children don't have sense and that my child will have to prove himself by using a big word or proving that he's smart.
I love my children because they are my children no matter what their intelligence level is at the time.

But the artwork is THE BEST! Even I loved to look over the book's pictures and see what was there, most of it very amusing and clever. My son just stared at the pictures, looking at each and every individual section and wanted me to wait before I turned the page after finished reading.

If I could I would give the artwork more than five stars but the writing maybe just a 2 or 3 stars as the writing just didn't seem to flow sometimes. And the gross part about the green boogers being picked, just not needed. Sorry Jamie Lee Curtis but more than likely I will not be buying another of your books as there is much better material out there for my children.

But as for Laura Cornell, I will be doing a search online for more of her work.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
This picture book about seven siblings learning big words is a quirky delight. By the time I was done I felt I knew the specific personalities of each family member inside out.

Here is a family that everyone will recognize. A preteen daughter who needs her privacy, loves pink, and dances through life. The next in line, a son obsessed with magic tricks, who loves to play with his baby sister's curls. An effervescent Asian girl, in love with "The Sound of Music." Twin toddlers who are picky eaters. An adopted African-American preschooler who can spell CAT. A brand-new baby girl. Add in an orange cat that steals the car keys, a miniature dog named Leo and a fat white duck, and you have a full house.

The subtle theme of the book is that everyone is different and has a unique personality, which makes life interesting. All kids will be able to relate.

If you keep looking, you'll notice dozens and dozens of humorous little details. I love the "Cut `n' Tape Lederhosen" that keep turning up throughout the book. My favorite part of the whole book is the inside back cover, which shows a collection of the family's photos hanging on a wall. The photos show the kids at various ages, growing up. Apparently the little Asian girl was adopted overseas; there is a picture of the oldest girl and boy on a plane with her, gently putting headphones on her baby ears. A funny photo shows the oldest girl holding one of the twins, and next to her the preschool Asian girl holds the other twin around the neck -- the baby's face is blue! Photos of the cat as a kitten and the dog as a teeny puppy (smaller than a leaf!) are next to a photo I puzzled over. Then I realized... it's an egg, on a hot water bottle! The pet duck, about to hatch, of course.
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