STARRED REVIEW
August 05, 2014

A little perspective, please

By Anna Kang, illustrated by Christopher Weyant
Review by

Size matters. Or does it? And aren’t things like “big” and “small” relative concepts anyway? You bet they are, as husband-and-wife author-illustrator team Anna Kang and Christopher Weyant make clear in their debut children’s book, the spare and thought-provoking You Are (Not) Small.

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Size matters. Or does it? And aren’t things like “big” and “small” relative concepts anyway? You bet they are, as husband-and-wife author-illustrator team Anna Kang and Christopher Weyant make clear in their debut children’s book, the spare and thought-provoking You Are (Not) Small.

A furry, purple bear-like creature refuses to accept the “small” label give to him by a larger, orange creature. “I am not small. You are big,” he tells him. The orange creature calls over his similarly sized friends and declares that he’s not big, compared to them. “You are small,” the orange creature reiterates. An argument ensues, broken up only by the arrival (by way of a loud, sudden stomp) of two, humongous furry feet in the middle of one spread. “BOOM!” Along come tiny, pink creatures, parachuting down the massive beast’s body, thereby putting a serious kink in the creatures’ attempts to define scale. (And the mostly mute pink creatures add a lot of humor to this lighthearted tale—not to mention one of them gets the very last laugh on the book’s final page.)

It’s Relativism 101 for children, and it works. Very young children firmly entrenched in the ego stage of psychological development need a story this elemental and uncluttered to drive home the notion that “it’s true for me” doesn’t make something true for everyone. Kang and Weyant pull this off without belaboring the point, and Weyant’s loose and cheerful cartoon illustrations, rendered in ink and watercolors, make it all accessible and much fun. His palette is soft and warm, and his bulbous-nosed creatures, outlined in a thick black line, are endearing. The sunny yellow endpapers are an indication that the low-key strife within the pages of the book will resolve itself quickly.

It’s big fun.

 

Julie Danielson features authors and illustrators at Seven Impossible Things Before Breakfast, a children’s literature blog.

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You Are (Not) Small

You Are (Not) Small

By Anna Kang, illustrated by Christopher Weyant
Two Lions
ISBN 9781477847725

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