BIG BEN by Sarah Ellis


by & illustrated by
Age Range: 2 - 5
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It’s not easy to be darling and genuine, but this story from Ellis manages both without a hitch. It helps, too, that LaFave’s (We’ll All Go Sailing, not reviewed, etc.) artwork uses sweeping lines and bright colors on expansive fields of white to great effect. The story concerns the feelings of Ben, a preschooler whose older siblings have received report cards, and sensational ones at that. The cards get taped to the refrigerator and there is a general celebration to mark the good grades. Ben gets no report card: He’s too little. And as the day progresses, he seems to be getting littler by the minute. He can’t swim with the others, he can’t see out of the car window like the others, and he doesn’t want Chinese food or a bedtime story. He has, inevitably, a bellyache. All he wants is his blanket. But then his brother and sister come to his rescue. They fashion a report card for Ben: “ ‘Does it have subjects?’ says Ben. ‘Yes,’ says Robin. ‘Your subjects are: Feeding the Cat, Shoe Tying, Tooth Brushing, Whistling, and Making Us Laugh.’ ” Ben gets straight A’s, and the comments from his professors couldn’t be more laudable. Well, suddenly Ben is feeling pretty spry. Maybe he’ll just show his dad just how good he can tie his shoes, even though he ought to be in bed. The sweet after the sour: Perhaps Ben will have that leftover Chinese food as a midnight snack. (Picture book. 2-5)

Pub Date: Dec. 1st, 2001
ISBN: 1-55041-679-0
Page count: 32pp
Publisher: Fitzhenry & Whiteside
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 1st, 2001


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