Review of The Little Guys

The Little Guys
by Vera Brosgol; illus. by the author
Preschool, Primary    Roaring Brook    40 pp.
4/19    978-1-62672-442-6    $17.99

The “strongest guys in the whole forest” are the Little Guys — small pastel-colored creatures with acorn-cap hats; red, nose-like appendages; and stick arms and legs. Together there is nothing they cannot conquer. For example, their quest to find breakfast includes crossing a deep body of water, making their way through a vast forest, and climbing “the tallest tree there is.” But this presumed root-for-the-underdog story takes a humorously unexpected turn, as close observation shows the Little Guys have been obnoxiously stealing from the other forest animals the whole time (“None for you! All for us!”). Their quest for forest dominance becomes clear through the animals’ alarmed facial expressions and body language. When the Little Guys’ confidence and amassed pile of food are both at their highest, they greedily attempt to snatch one last berry, leading to a colossal (and deserved) tumble. Brosgol’s (Leave Me Alone, rev. 9/16) rich jewel-toned illustrations (“drawn with dip pen and ink and acrylic ink and painted in watercolor, with some Adobe Photoshop shenanigans afterward”) are imbued with humor both subtle and exaggerated, enhancing and extending the spare text. With its action-filled double-page spreads that vary their format effectively (including a well-placed vertical spread as well as one that uses panels); expert comedic timing; and the oddly endearing Little Guys, the story is well suited for read-alouds.

From the May/June 2019 issue of The Horn Book Magazine.
Emmie Stuart
Emmie Stuart
Emmie Stuart is a school librarian at the Percy Priest Elementary School in Nashville, Tennessee.

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