First a tiny taste of what makes Big and Small and In-Between so special.
The unusual paper art in this book is a treat. There are a handful of instances throughout for the reader to discover, and the ending is a wonderful, inevitable surprise! I’m really trying to figure out how the publisher (Chronicle Books) could sell this 98-page picture book at such a reasonable hardcover price: $18.99. Perhaps the smaller trim size and lack of book jacket is part of the answer.
This is a concept book divided into three sections:
BIG important things
And things that lie somewhere in between.
Possible answers follow each heading, which should lead to much discussion. One being whether the reader agrees with how an example is classified and another being how many more examples a child can come up with in each category. The possibilities are infinite. Sooooooo…..
What are some BIG things?
The book starts quietly with two images, one of a dog sleeping, then waking up in a ray of sunshine, accompanied by the following text.
the SUN and its SHINE
when it asks you to rise
———————- page turn
the DONUTthat your brother got
because you picked last
and only got the hole
Suddenly, the narrative isn’t so quiet. LOOK at the size of that donut! Who hasn’t envied someone else’s share—especially a sibling’s—of a prized treat?
Comparing the qualitative and quantitative differences of these two examples could lead to a discussion of the physical size of things like our solar system and the other to a discussion of perception and envy. When someone else has something you want (no matter the actual size of the thing itself), it can take up a BIG space in your mind.
This book presents many opportunities to discuss the nature of “size” and feelings, and how perception can affect the way you feel and/or how the way you feel can affect your perception.
The illustrations by Daniel Miyares, using graphite, gouache and digital collage, in soft jewel tones range from creating a sense of wonder to irony. A perfect pairing with the text. Along with the endpapers (a portion shown in this post’s header), the illustrations also evoke a sense of nostalgia for older readers, recalling memories of how it feels to be a child.
This book is going to win awards.
Make your own lists of big, small, and in-between things. Is their size related to feelings or to physical measurements?
Can you figure out how to fold a piece of paper so that it expands and contracts like the twisting square at the beginning of BIG things? If you can’t, here’s a video that will show you how. You can take it one step further and make an advanced square twist.
Make a decoupage Memory box that you can use to collect small things that bring back BIG memories. Learn how to make one from a shoebox.
Title: Big and Small and In-Between
Author: Carter Higgins
Illustrator: Daniel Miyares
Publisher: Chronicle Books, 2022
Ages: Preschool to adults
Themes: Size, emotions, memories
For more perfect picture book recommendations, please visit Susanna Hill’s website.