Growing pains abound in this follow-up to internet star Engledow’s The Little Girl Who Didn’t Want to Go to Bed (2017).
As in his previous title and his online work, Engledow uses humorous, digitally manipulated, composite photographs of his daughter, a blonde white girl. In this story, she wants to grow up quickly in order to do “big things,” and she tries various tactics to make herself grow. While one photo shows her arms lengthened to unnatural proportions after stretching with weights, it’s not until she follows her parents’ advice to “think big” that she awakens transformed into a larger-than-life child. Towering over her parents, she now rides atop the family station wagon instead of in her car seat, and she does “big things,” too: from washing the roof of her house to “serving her country” by lifting the dome off the Capitol building to declare “You’ll never accomplish big things if you keep acting like little children.” This moment feels rather self-important and off-mark in terms of child appeal, but subsequent spreads are stronger as they show the giant girl sitting on a mountaintop and eventually snoozing on a distant planet as though it were an exercise ball. The imaginative conclusion finds her reunited with her parents, glad to be their little girl.
Big on visual appeal if short on storytelling innovation. (Picture book. 3-6)