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by Jean Van Leeuwen & illustrated by Jacqueline Rogers

Age Range: 4 - 8

Pub Date: May 1st, 2001
ISBN: 0-8037-2357-1
Publisher: Putnam

A poignant tale about a pint-sized tot who longs to be big. The youngest of eight, little Maggie McGee can’t wait to do all the fun things her brothers and sisters do, like riding bikes and going to school. Too often, being the littlest means being left out. In due time she enters school, only to make the disheartening discovery that there are still more big-kid activities and privileges just out of her reach. “I will never big enough, thought Maggie. Not in my whole life.” However, when Maggie’s older brother forgets his lines during the fourth-grade play, it’s none other but the littlest who comes to his rescue. With a wry but sympathetic eye, Van Leeuwen paints an accurate portrait of life at the bottom of the family totem pole. Readers will empathize with Maggie’s predicament, her tale being an anthem for all younger siblings, who can glean some measure of hope (and reassurance) from her experiences. Rogers’s soft watercolors add a dash of zest to the slow-paced tale, marking Maggie’s growth with changes in hairstyle and her proportion to her surroundings. Detailed paintings don’t miss a beat, capturing all the humor of the situations and Maggie’s spunky determination to measure up to the older kids. More slice-of-life than high adventure, Van Leeuwen’s story is sweetly engaging; it putters along at an even keel without ever reaching any exciting peaks but is never the less a satisfying read. And just watch what happens when Maggie really grows up. (Picture book. 4-8)