Big and Small, Room for All by Jo Ellen Bogart

big-and-smallCindy: Big and Small, Room for All (Tundra, 2009) is a concept book for the small guys that is big on idea and even bigger on execution. It was a starred review that sent me on a search of my public library for this title. Lynn and I agree that the sweet watercolor cover art is reminiscent of the Dick and Jane primers and is not something that would immediately attract our 5-year-old twin boy focus group, but that assumption would be wrong. Inside, galaxies explode: “Big sky, Small Sun.” Turn the page to a red hot sun: “Big Sun, Small Earth.” And so it goes, watercolor paintings of big and small, depending on your shifting perspective. The fun could lead to all sorts of comparisons around the yard, house, or school. This fun nonfiction book is The Power of Ten for the young set.

Lynn: I was initially put off a bit by the cover because it looked too sweet. I’m not sure if the cause is too much Dick and Jane as a child or whether I am just a total curmudgeon but I usually run the other way from cutesy or sweet illustrations. Cindy read this first and assured me the focus group would like it and I’m so glad she nagged us to read it! Opening the book reveals a two-page spread that has amazing power and a grand sense of the enormity of the universe. The first series of illustrations invoke gasps and awe as subsequent pages quickly establish the pattern of the book for the reader. Our focus group got the concept immediately and were eager for each page-turn to see what came next. The text is perfect for beginning readers and each new comparison is a pleasure to see and think about. The twins particularly liked the enormous flea, meticulously drawn, that leads finally to a look through a lens at microscopic animals. The last page circles back to ask, “What is bigger than the sky?”

This clever and unusual book is ideal both as a lap book and a story-hour or classroom book and will have youngsters thinking and talking about big and small in new ways.



About the Author:

Cindy Dobrez and Lynn Rutan are Booklist reviewers and middle-school librarians who have chaired both ALA’s Best Books for Young Adults and the Michael L. Printz Award for YA Literature committees. Follow Bookends on Twitter at @BookendsBlog. You can also find Cindy at @cdobrez and Lynn at @482april.

2 Comments on "Big and Small, Room for All by Jo Ellen Bogart"

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  1.' Clare says:

    I’m so glad you like this! It is written by a local author who I just met recently at an industry event.

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