A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this book.
Young kids are still developing a concept of size and relative size, puzzling over what fits in what (think nesting toys), so it's developmentally helpful for them to imagine how little Clementine experiences items in the larger world such as a teacup, a full-size slipper, a match box. Models writing notes to Santa.
Even small people (children) can find pleasure and fun in a world geared toward bigger folks. If you have special needs, you can speak up about them and make them known, and others can accommodate you. Parents and families can support you and help you express your needs.
Positive Role Models
Clementine is a strong girl role model, speaking up about her particular and unusual needs, and resourceful finding ways to communicate them. Despite the challenges of living in a world sized for others, she's unfailingly upbeat, and is also resourceful finding ways to enjoy the big-size world. Her parents are supportive and encouraging.
Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that Harriet Muncaster's The Biggest Smallest Christmas Present is a new take on a classic kid-pleasing idea: a teeny-tiny being living in a big world. Think Thumbelina, Tom Thumb, and the host of kids' stories about mice. This story's set at Christmas and poses a holiday challenge: How will tiny Clementine let Santa know she needs smaller presents? It features a determined girl who's also cheerfully adaptive to her circumstances, plus a family that's supportive of its tiniest member's unusual needs. There are implicit messages about inclusion, sticking up for yourself, being resourceful, and being supportive as a family. In this charming holiday-themed story, there's real fun for kids in scanning the pictures to see how little Clementine puts big objects to her own ingenious tiny uses.
Is It Any Good?
This playful, inventive holiday book combines a Santa story with a kid-pleasing one about a tiny creature living in a too-big world. The Biggest Smallest Christmas Present echoes classics like Thumbelina and Beatrix Potter's The Tale of Two Bad Mice, in which a mouse couple takes up residence in a dollhouse, stories that are fun for kids since they themselves are small creatures in a big world. This story also has a distinctly contemporary feel. Tiny Clementine has a buoyant spirit, as does the text. "Most of the time, it was fun to be tiny." And though she's never daunted by the challenges of her size, she's determined to communicate her needs, making her a perfect role model for girls.
Author-illustrator Harriet Muncaster has loads of fun picturing tiny, tenacious Clementine next to her looming toys, giving kids plenty to inspect visually. This fresh take on Christmas is a welcome addition to a family's holiday shelf, and is enjoyable enough that it could even become a surprise off-season favorite.
Did we miss something on diversity?
Research shows a connection between kids' healthy self-esteem and positive portrayals in media. That's why we've added a new "Diverse Representations" section to our reviews that will be rolling out on an ongoing basis. You can help us help kids by suggesting a diversity update.