Little big by Jonathan Bentley

cover image

Little Hare, 2013. ISBN 9781921894442.
(Age: 3+) Highly recommended. Picture book, Size, Siblings. A giraffe forming the middle letter of the word big on the front cover invites the readers to open the book and see what it is all about. Baby brother is little and admires his brother nonchalantly sitting cross legged on his chair eating his toast, a big boy. He longs to be big and tries various schemes to be big but they do not work. If he had big legs like a giraffe he could race up the hill, or big hands like the gorilla he could take out cookies from the jar and eat them, or a big moth like the crocodile, then he could tell his brother to go to bed. But a big monster might scare him under his bed, until he finds out just who is under the monster mask.
A lovely story of siblings and their relationships, of trying to be bigger, of the difference between big and little, the illustrations beautifully match the whimsy of the tale, the watercolour textures adding a layer of softness to the crocodile, gorilla, monster and giraffe. Watch out for the monster's shadow, the way the animals emanate from the boy's backpack, the difference between what a bigger animal can do and then cannot do. The whole adds up to a loving sibling relationship, where the older by cares for the younger, so much so that he is the monster, wrapped in a sheet, and because he is big he can peddle the little trike with his brother in the back.
Fran Knight