Review Blog

Aug 01 2019

I don't want to be small by Laura Ellen Anderson

cover image

Bloomsbury 2019. ISBN: 9781408894064.
(Age: 4+) Recommended. Themes: Size, Difference, Body image. With the word 'small' in large letters on the front cover and a small boy measuring himself with a frazzled look on his face, children picking up this book will know it's about a boy who is displeased about his size.
In rhyming lines, the boy tells us of his problem, being so small that his friends forget him, or that he is not allowed to go on the bigger rides at the fair. He is so cross that he throws his bear up into the air and it becomes stuck on a higher branch of the tree. Now he is really cross that he is short, because no matter what he does, he cannot reach his bear. He tries a long stick and stands on a box. He ties his socks together to make a rope, even eats all his greens and then gets into a flower to to see if he can grow quickly like a plant. But nothing works.
A taller girl comes by and offers to help get the teddy out of the tree, but even she is not tall enough. They have an idea, and the boy gets onto her shoulders with just enough reach to get the bear. Together they have solved the problem and worked out how he can be taller. A story promoting satisfaction with what you are, of loving who and what you are, will be a great discussion starter in schools, where body image is often talked of. A charming tale too of supporting each other, of two people able to solve a problem together, will also initiate discussion. The funny illustrations, like those in her first book, I don't want curly hair (2017) will cause readers to laugh out loud while reading.
Fran Knight

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