A diminutive boy finds a gender-bending solution to reach greater heights.
Short Seamus is frustrated that “the world appears to be made for tall people.” He can’t reach many things, and attempts to make a running jump and to stand on a rickety chair and a wobbly stepladder are futile. He even tries sitting on his big brother’s shoulders “(but they are not quite high enough).” This last parenthetical statement calls into question the logic of the solution he ultimately discovers: wearing a pair of his mother’s “high high-heeled shoes.” Despite this narrative hole, Seamus’ delight at reaching everything from “the top button in the elevator” to “the chocolate milk in the fridge” is apparent. Notably, no one questions his decision to wear traditionally feminine footwear, though there is one illustration with two neighbors looking askance across the property line fence. It’s Seamus who ends up questioning the shoes when he realizes that there are some nice things about being short, but he ends up deciding that there are times when it’s good to be tall and others when it’s good to be small. The colored pencil–and-ink illustrations adopt a cartoon style and seem to depict all characters as white people, though outlines in blue indicate nonrealistic skin colors.
To quote the closing text: “And that’s the long and short of it.” (Picture book. 4-7)