Kirkus Reviews QR Code
SOMETHING BIG by Sylvie Neeman


by Sylvie Neeman ; illustrated by Ingrid Godon ; translated by Claudia Zoe Bedrick

Age Range: 4 - 8

Pub Date: Sept. 14th, 2013
ISBN: 978-1-59270-140-7
Publisher: Enchanted Lion Books

A little one wants to do something big, even though he is a little one.

In this fraught pleasure from Neeman, an unnamed small boy is disturbed that he can’t do something big, since he is little. Like what? asks the big one. (The text never defines the characters, but they appear to be a father and son in the illustrations.) The little one can’t quite put his finger on it. Not like a mountain or a tower or a house. Maybe he’d like to build a lighthouse? suggests the big one. “No, I don’t. You don’t understand anything,” says the little one, a bit peevishly. On they go, in a quiet back-and-forth conveyed in language that allows readers into the relationship. “I don’t think it’s a good idea for you at your age to do something little,” says the little one to the big one after another off-target suggestion, though there is a tenderness always at work between the two. Sometimes the little one can be too sensitive a flower, but Godon’s artwork keeps that in check, with its minimalist line work and moody fields of color—ancient blue, green, red and black, and a lot of white. And the solution to the little one’s dilemma, if it is a solution, is a good balance of mystery and possibility.

A sweetly caught moment of youthful existentialism. (Picture book. 4-8)