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Review of Little i

Little i
by Michael Hall; illus. by the author
Preschool, Primary    Greenwillow    48 pp.
9/17    978-0-06-238300-6    $17.99

A cross between a quest story and a 
concept book, Hall’s (Red: A Crayon’s Story, rev. 1/15) latest picture book launches when Little i’s dot falls off and into the sea. Little i boards a boat appropriately shaped like a question mark and sets off to find its dot. Our protagonist lands on an island full of wonders (and punctuation), including a waterfall shaped from exclamation points (“It was exciting! Spectacular! Magnificent!”) and a garden of commas (“Little i paused, paused, and paused again, to admire each one”). Little i searches everywhere and finally finds its dot…functioning as a period at the end of the island. As with any good quest, the main character has grown and changed along the way. Its old dot no longer fits; our hero is Big I now, and can stand on its very own, even as a word. Bright digitally compiled collages composed of painted and cut paper create dramatic backgrounds, and the expressions of and movement among the letters give them energy and personality (e.g., the alphabet characters speak by lining up next to one another to form words: “‘strange,’ said s, t, r, a, n, g, and e”). The roles of symbols and letters in the English language beautifully become part of the story’s action, and a map in the back explains the punctuation on the island.

From the January/February 2018 issue of The Horn Book Magazine.

Julie Roach About Julie Roach

Julie Roach manages youth services at the Cambridge Public Library in Massachusetts. She also teaches children’s literature at Simmons College’s Graduate School of Library and Information Science and at Lesley University.

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