Review of I'm Not Small

I’m Not Small
by Nina Crews; illus. by the author
Preschool    Greenwillow    32 pp.    g
3/22    978-0-06-305826-2    $17.99

A child greets the day with excitement, eager to go play outside. Mom and Dad, sipping coffee, encourage the child’s exploratory instincts: “Go ahead…you’re a big kid now.” Exclamation points follow (“I am big! I am going outside on my own!”), but once out the door, the youngster feels — and looks, in the vast illustration featuring tall trees and open skies — very small. There’s a moment of uncertain hesitation, but then the family dog runs up, bringing companionship and confidence. Subsequent encounters with diminutive creatures (cat, bunny, birds, insects) remind the child that big and small are relative; that it’s possible to be both at once; and, in a warmhearted twist ending, that each has its own merits. Crews (The Neighborhood Sing-Along, rev. 5/11; A Girl like Me, rev. 1/20), known for her unique photo-illustrated style, plays with the medium in art that is “digitally drawn and collaged…incorporating photographs and textures created by the artist.” The characters are illustrated (not photographed) with subdued hues and patterns and subtle collage elements throughout. The adventure is little but the emotions loom large — and are completely relatable for all viewers, big or small.

From the March/April 2022 issue of The Horn Book Magazine.

Elissa Gershowitz

Elissa Gershowitz is editor in chief of The Horn Book, Inc. She holds an MA from the Center for the Study of Children's Literature at Simmons University and a BA from Oberlin College.

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