You Are (Not) Small

Book review by
Patricia Tauzer, Common Sense Media
You Are (Not) Small Book Poster Image
Snuggly, fun picture book about sizing the world up.

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A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this book.

Educational Value

What is big? What is small? Knowing the difference depends on who's standing next to you. It's all relative.

Positive Messages

Being big or being small is a matter of perspective, not value. Showing examples is a good way to solve a debate. 

Positive Role Models & Representations

The bear-like animals are respectful of each other, even though they disagree. After some arguing, they realize that finding examples for their points of view and compromising works better than taking sides and yelling. When they understand that what's big and what's small depends on the observer's perspective, they both feel good and they go off to have lunch together, happy to be friends. 

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that You Are (Not) Small is a cute, lightweight picture book with friendly characters, a humorous tone, and a gentle message about what makes something seem big or small. The text is simple, as are the pudgy little creatures that make this fun for kids and adults alike. 

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What's the story?

Two bear-like creatures argue over which one is big and which one is small. Ultimately, they both get a rudimentary lesson in relativity as they realize it all depends on who's standing around them. And, guess what? A person can be both big and small. Even more important, which is which really doesn't really matter. Friends can be friends no matter what size they are. 

Is it any good?

The story is short and spare, but young kids will love the charmingly cuddly characters, the simplicity of the argument, and the drama the words and text add to the ink-and-watercolor drawings. Parents will have fun reading the book with their kids and discussing its important lesson about how we each see the world from our individual -- and changing -- perspectives. Consider it an early toddler lesson on the theory of relativity, one that definitely will inspire plenty of discussion.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Family members can talk about what makes each of them think something is big or small. Why is size so important? What does it mean to you?

  • The argument in this book starts when the big guy tells the little guy that he's small. What happens next? How does the argument change? Why does everyone start yelling? How is the problem resolved? 

  • How do the print and the pictures change to show how the argument gets louder and less friendly? What happens to the text as the characters begin to resolve the problem? 

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