Roland is disappointed by the size of his tiny, red package on Christmas morning, but he learns that bigger is not always better.
When Roland wishes for a bigger present, his package is magically replaced with a larger one. But it’s not big enough for Roland. He wishes again and gets an even bigger box, the pattern repeating until Roland’s gift is a big as a house, then as big as a skyscraper. Still not big enough. Roland angrily takes off in a spaceship to “search the universe” for a gift that’s big enough to satisfy him. As the spaceship gets farther and farther away, he gradually has a change of heart. Roland realizes that the tiny dot of Earth, with his own home and family, is the gift he wants most of all. The touching conclusion shows Roland at home on the sofa with his family—the only gift he needs. Hand-lettered text and sophisticated, cartoon-style illustrations give the story the look of one for older children or even adults, but the theme will be easily understood by younger children. The message is skillfully and subtly conveyed, and though the lesson could be heavy-handed in less sure hands, readers will be both entertained and satisfied by Roland’s progression from greedy glutton to grateful son.
A warmhearted, whimsical story with a folkloric feel and a theme that is anything but small. (Picture book. 4-10)