Book: You Are (Not) Small
Author: Anna Kang
Illustrator: Christopher Weyant
Age Range: 2-5
You Are (Not) Small by Anna Kang and Christopher Weyant is a well-executed picture book designed to make the concept of relative size clear to the youngest of readers. The story begins with an orange bear saying to a smaller purplish bear: "You are small." The smaller bear objects, insisting that it's not that he's small, but that the other bear is big. They each line up other friends to support their argument ("They are just like me. You are small.").
Just as things are getting a bit testy, a huge blue furry paw drops down in between them with a "BOOM!", followed by the descent of tiny pink bears floating down via parachute. This is enough to help the bears to realize that it's possible to be big and small at the same time. Which is a pretty subtle concept to be conveyed by a book that has entire page spreads with no text except for "Big!" and "Small!"
You Are (Not) Small will be a fun book to read aloud to toddlers and preschoolers. The text is all dialog (except for the "BOOM!"), inviting the use of higher vs. lower pitched voices. The "BOOM!" is likely to startle young readers the first time, but sure to elicit giggles after that.
Weyant's ink and watercolor bears are minimally detailed, yet fully able to convey expressions of puzzlement, belligerence, etc. They're awfully cute, too. My favorite is when the first smaller bear says: "I am not small. See?". He gestures to himself, eyes closed, with such an innocently proud expression. He reminds me of a two year old.
In short, You Are (Not) Small is a delightful addition to the ranks of picture books for early preschool set. It teaches about relative size without feeling like it's teaching anything, and even throws in a very subtle dose of conflict resolution by kids. Plus, I'm telling you, kids are going to love these bears. This would make a good choice for a library storytime, or as a gift for your favorite two-year-old. Recommended!
Publisher: Two Lions Press
Publication Date: August 5, 2014
Source of Book: Review copy from the publisher
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