LITTLE SMUDGE by Lionel Le Néouanic


Age Range: 4 - 6
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Rightly opening with nods to Matisse, Miró and Leo Lionni, this tale of an irregular newcomer who turns initially hostile geometric forms into friends, by teaching them how to change shape, glows with color and movement. Primed by his parents, Little Smudge—“Petite Tache” in the original, and actually more of a sharply defined black blot than a hazy smudge—goes back to a group of squares and triangles, and after demonstrating his ability to turn into a huge, toothy monster, “tells them how to transform themselves.” Readers who want to know just what Little Smudge says will be disappointed, but will still enjoy seeing the new playmates all expand, go blobby and ultimately turn into Miró-ishly modernist human figures, before reluctantly dispersing for the night. Le Néouanic sends small, simple figures dancing across large expanses of creamy white space, around lines of text that themselves change size and shape. An appealing shelfmate for similar essays in transformation, from Lionni’s Little Blue and Little Yellow, or Charles Shaw’s classic It Looked Like Spilt Milk, to Lois Ehlert’s early works. (Picture book. 4-6)

Pub Date: Oct. 2nd, 2006
ISBN: 1-905417-22-5
Page count: 48pp
Publisher: Sterling
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 1st, 2006