STARRED REVIEW
October 10, 2017

One step at a time

By Kate Hoefler, illustrated by Noah Klocek
Review by

One tiny mouse, clutching a crumb, takes off across the world. Big-eyed and resolved, despite its small stature, it heads out over a landscape enormously larger than itself. Where is it going? More importantly, why? Great Big Things is a powerful tale about courage, determination and the wisdom to recognize the truly big things in life.

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One tiny mouse, clutching a crumb, takes off across the world. Big-eyed and resolved, despite its small stature, it heads out over a landscape enormously larger than itself. Where is it going? More importantly, why? Great Big Things is a powerful tale about courage, determination and the wisdom to recognize the truly big things in life.

What lucky readers we are, when two perfectly matched artists collaborate in a picture book. Kate Hoefler and Noah Klocek tell a story that is both unassuming and fathoms deep. Hoefler, author of the poignant Real Cowboys, creates exquisite poetry; brief sentences make the grandest gestures against Klocek’s bold backdrop. Like a hiker conserving energy on a long journey, Hoefler doesn’t waste a word, as description and alliteration tell a tight, compact tale.

Klocek (who also works for Pixar) illustrates with a bold, passionate hand. His deep colors and soft-edged images are both imposing and still slightly fanciful. The sharp grass, strong winds, the chill of the sea—they all seem tangible and full of movement, while every landscape has myriad stories of its own. Without dialogue, the vastness of the world—dotted with the smallness of the mouse—gives us the sense of struggle and determination. We know there must be something larger, vaster, more eternal pulling it forward. And somehow, we know that the mouse will get there.

Both a grand journey and an effective metaphor, Great Big Things is a stunning, multilayered story with a very simple message. Keep moving forward; there are even grander things ahead.

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Great Big Things

Great Big Things

By Kate Hoefler, illustrated by Noah Klocek
HMH
ISBN 9780544774773

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