What child hasn’t felt too small on occasion? Here, Mimi is smaller than everyone in her family (including the dog) as well as everyone in her class.
Mimi’s tale starts as one of woe, a litany of drawbacks to being petite: not being noticed in crowds, not being able to touch the floor while seated on the school bus, not being able to see desserts at the bakery, and so on. But there are two sides to every coin, and Mimi’s friends help her notice the benefits: winning at hide-and-seek, being in the front row for pictures, and treating the bathtub like a swimming pool. At 48 pages, this is a bit longer than is typical for picture books for young children, but there is limited text on each page, and the illustrations with plenty of white space help make the story accessible. Leng’s pen, ink, and watercolor drawings—even the trim size of the whole package—are appropriately small in scale and focus; the pictures are reminiscent of James Stevenson’s art. The satisfying ending shows that it doesn’t make any difference if Mimi is sad or glad about being small: She won’t be the smallest in the family any longer, as a new baby brother has just arrived. Mimi—who wears her brown hair short along with jeans, T-shirt, and a sweatshirt (all too big for her, of course)—and her family present white; her friends and fellow students are diverse.
A sweet demonstration that a change in perspective can work wonders. (Picture book. 4-7)