BIG WORLD, SMALL WORLD by Jeanne Titherington


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The wonder of this idea of parallel adult and child worlds is that it hasn't been done before, by someone like Charlotte Zolotow sensitive to differing adult and child perceptions. The extra ingredient here, though, is Titherington's individualized adult and child figures: the firmly outlined, lightly crayoned, almost monochrome scenes (faintly shaded with peach and blue) are at once incorporeal, like Mitchell Miller or Alan Cober, and anecdotal, like (why not?) Norman Rockwell. It makes for an unusual, intriguing combination--if anything, a bit too sophisticated for the basic text. e.g., ""Mama talks to a neighbor. Anna talks to her dog."" What happens, of a Saturday morning, is that Anna does as Mama does--with certain differences. When ""Mama puts on her clothes,"" ""Anna puts on Mama's shoes."" That one will drink coffee and the other milk is to be expected; so is Mama's carrying her pocketbook when they go out, and Anna's carrying her teddy. But analagously with the neighbor/dog division, when ""Mama counts her money"" in the store, ""Anna counts people's legs."" And there's a filip, similar to Anna putting on Mama's shoes, when ""Mama looks for what she needs,"" and ""Anna looks for what she wants."" The situations vary in the degree to which they strike home or seem made-up, and the text is utterly flat--but the idea is a natural and the powdery hyper-realism of the illustrations has a fascination of its own.

Pub Date: March 18th, 1985
Publisher: Greenwillow