In this Swiss import, a young dachshund puppy named Nugget explores the world outside his home, comparing his own small stature with larger animals and structures.
Nugget is only 10 months old, and he feels small and rather powerless, his view of the world limited to gazing up at large tables, towering trees, and sky-high buildings. As he ventures out on his own into the city, Nugget longs to see a great vista from a high perspective. With the help of his friends, the puppy finds his way to an enormous bridge where he looks down on the river and tall buildings and discovers “what it’s like to be big.” In the tradition of the traveler who gratefully returns home with an enlightened consciousness, Nugget finds his way back to his own cozy house and decides being a small and pampered pet is not so bad after all. While his quest to expand his worldview from a higher perspective has some philosophical validity, the illustrations do not show Nugget’s expansive view, and the story doesn’t convey his transformative experience. The text is a classic example of the need to show rather than tell, as the dog’s experiences and feelings are described in rather dry prose that fails to make Nugget a compelling character. The subject of relative perspective is explored with much greater success in You Are (Not) Small by Anna Kang and Christopher Weyant (2014).
While there is a nugget of appeal in the illustrations of the endearing puppy, this effort falls short in its intended thematic journey. (Picture book. 4-6)