Little BIG by Jonathan Bentley
Little Hare, 2013. ISBN 9781921894442.
This is a lovely story about a little brother who desperately wants to be bigger and do the things his big brother does. No matter how hard he tries, it doesn't work. But then he realises that while being bigger has advantages, it also has distinct disadvantages. And there are some times when being little is just perfect.
Jonathan Bentley has used his writing and illustrating skills to create a book that so many children can relate to - having a younger sibling who wants to do what they do, or being the younger child wanting to emulate their older siblings. Miss 7 is struggling with that now as Miss 2 doesn't understand that their five-year age gap means that things cannot be the same for both. (This will definitely be the read-aloud when they are here on Saturday!)
The illustrations are rich with things to discover - why does the little boy choose to be a giraffe, a gorilla and a crocodile - but each is touched with a gentle hand so they are not scary. There is a subtle humour that appeals, particularly in the final spread which is the perfect end to a well-told tale.
In the hands of a skilled teacher, this book could be a great way to start a discussion about how we all grow and change but how we are right now is just perfect. It could also be the platform for the students to write an extra page. Using the model of advantage/disadvantage they could explore what could they do if they were bigger, but what would that mean they couldn't do. Books that inspire talk and a personal response deserve their place on any library shelf.