Bob Staake's Look! A Book!
Growing Bookworms Newsletter: November 22

Tiny Little Fly: Michael Rosen & Kevin Waldron

Book: Tiny Little Fly
Author: Michael Rosen
Illustrator: Kevin Waldron
Pages: 32
Age Range: 3-8

FlyBe warned! Tiny Little Fly, written by Michael Rosen and illustrated by Kevin Waldron, is a picture book with a snappy refrain that you just might find yourself chanting as you go about your day. But personally, I'm ok with that. It's a fun book about a tiny little fly who buzzes around pestering a string of large animals. The animals use their own particular strengths to try to get rid of the fly (the elephant trying to stomp on him, the hippo trying to roll over on him, etc.). But the tiny little fly bests them all, and flies off into the flowers.

Rosen's text is quite bouncy. Like this (across 2 page spreads):

"Great Big Tiger winks one eye, says to herself, "I'm going to catch that fly!"
Great Big Tiger
winks the other eye.
But off flies the fly."

You kind of want to sing it, instead of just reading it. Not that it's annoyingly sing-songy. More like it would make a decent song for singing with toddlers (something I am generally on the lookout for these days).

Kevin Waldron's illustrations (done in pencil, painted in gouache, and digitally enhanced) are large in scale, and jungle-themed in palette. The animals are sized so large that they don't even fit on the pages, with just a portion of each animal visible at one time. Each animal's encounter with the fly carries across several pages, however, so the reader gets multiple chances to piece together what the animal looks like. The animals aren't quite realistic, but they are imposing. The tiger is quite beautiful, too, I think.

Waldron often shows the fly's trajectory, making it easier for young readers to find him (the fly is a little bit oversized relative to the animals, otherwise he'd be lost completely).

Tiny Little Fly is a nice, substantial book, too, in terms of construction. A little oversized, with thick, smooth pages. Near the end there's a page spread in which each folded page opens out from the middle, resulting in one illustration four pages wide. In my library copy, the fold-out pages are pretty crinkled (nearly a year after the book's publication date), but it's still a fun device for engaging visual interest.

Tiny Little Fly would be a good choice for preschoolers. It's fun to read aloud, and has bold, active illustrations of several jungle animals. And the small creature wins the day, which is probably an encouraging thought. I think we just might pick up a copy of this one to keep. Recommended!

Publisher: Candlewick (@Candlewick)
Publication Date: November 9, 2010
Source of Book: Library copy
Nominated for 2011 Cybils in Fiction Picture Books by: Debbie

© 2011 by Jennifer Robinson of Jen Robinson's Book Page. All rights reserved. This site is an Amazon affiliate, and purchases made through Amazon links may result in my receiving a small commission (at no additional cost to you).