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A LITTLE AT A TIME by David A. Adler


by David A. Adler & illustrated by Paul Tong

Pub Date: Aug. 1st, 2010
ISBN: 978-0-8234-1739-1
Publisher: Holiday House

A little boy takes a walk with his Grandpa through a city, and they see many things: tall buildings, a construction site and a museum with an enormous dinosaur skeleton. As they walk, the boy asks questions: about how the buildings got so tall, how the streets got so dirty or how the dinosaur got put together. Grandpa answers all the questions with the same refrain: “a little at a time.” The concept slowly sinks in, and toward the end the boy is able to answer his own question with the same line. Grandpa keeps it going all the way to naptime, however, which makes one wish that the refrain were used more sparingly and less predictably for greater punch. What does work is how the phrase is applied to both good and bad—the putting together of the skeleton versus pollution, for instance. Tong’s painterly images communicate exactly what the boy and his Grandpa see but come off a bit stiff and old-fashioned. Still, Adler clearly navigates an important and often-forgotten concept for little thinkers growing up in a world full of immediate gratification. (Picture book. 3-6)