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Review of Bigger! Bigger!

Bigger! Bigger!
by Leslie Patricelli; illus. by the author
Preschool    Candlewick    32 pp.    g
5/18    978-0-7636-7930-9    $15.99

In her previous picture books (Higher! Higher!, rev. 3/09; Faster! Faster!, rev. 3/12), this pigtailed adventurer has taken readers on wild and imaginative rides — swinging high into space; moving as fast as a cheetah. Here the girl begins by building a tower out of bricks, then progresses to a doghouse, then a real house, a housing complex, a bridge, an office building, and a skyscraper. “Build. / Big. / Bigger! / Bigger! Bigger!” The girl’s dog and cat pitch in, wearing hard hats, while handheld tools such as hammers and nails soon make way for construction vehicles. The shifting perspectives of the scenes as the buildings get bigger create excitement with every page-turn. A double-page spread declaring, finally, “Biggest!” shows a city skyline with the self-satisfied trio of girl, cat, and dog in the forefront — but the next page shows an alarming, vibrating scene: “Boom! Boom!” Crashing through the skyscrapers, a huge diapered infant (whom readers may recognize from Patricelli’s popular board books) upsets every structure — and the fantasy — until only a pile of blocks and the baby’s tearful older sister remain. Wordless spreads show the process of reconciliation as the two start building together as a team: “Stronger! Stronger!” The minimal text, bright color palette, and textured acrylic paintings with thick black outlines create a book appropriate for sharing both one-on-one and with groups.

From the May/June 2018 issue of The Horn Book Magazine: Special Issue: Making a Difference.

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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