Alex really, really wishes he were tall. He's so small, other kids call him Shorty. His sister's friends pat him on the head and say "Aaahh, isn't he sweet." His mom suggests eating protein. His dad advises him to exercise more. His sister tells him to sleep a lot. His teacher recommends lots of reading and counting. But none of these things seem to do any good. It's only when he goes straight to the source--his very tall Uncle Danny--that Alex begins to see some changes. But they're not the changes he expected.
Shout "Hooray" for this sweet story of a dissatisfied child who stops being the smallest boy and turns into the happiest one instead. The message is plain to the point of being trite--it's what's inside that counts--but the vehicle for this philosophy is utterly charming. Alex's uncle recommends that he give his family big hugs every morning, eat Popsicles in the bath with a million bubbles every evening, and break the sound barrier on his bike, among other worthy suggestions for a happy life. What could be smarmy isn't. Russell Ayto's cartoonish illustrations of Alex among a jungle of long legs will seem exquisitely familiar to any child. Young readers of all shapes and sizes, especially those who feel too anything, will take heart from Alex's story. (Ages 4 to 7) --Emilie Coulter
From School Library Journal
PreSchool-Grade 1-Little Alex wants more than anything to be tall. "He couldn't stop thinking about it. He even dreamed about it." He solicits advice on how to grow from his family and teacher and scrupulously follows it-eating protein, exercising, reading-until he talks to his very tall Uncle Danny, who tells him, "You don't want to grow on the outside. No! You need to grow a bit on the inside." Though Ayto's line drawings have humor and action, the plot does not. The familiar theme of a child wanting to grow up is handled with much more charm in Pat Hutchins's Titch (Aladdin, 1993). Kathleen Whalin, Greenwich Country Day School, CT
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