As an adult, I can honestly say this is one of those books that are perplexingly popular. Don’t get me wrong, it’s cute. The story is nice (simple) and the illustrations are well done. It also sends the children in my life into complete giggling FITS! A fact which inspires me to generate an amused and confused why-are-you-laughing? face….which often results in even more laughter.
OK. The above statement probably says more about me and my household than it does about the book, so allow me to explain the story in a bit more detail.
You Are (Not) Small is a study in contrasts. Literally. One group of bears is smaller/bigger than another group. Therefore, a bear in the small group is not small when placed within his own group. A shouting match occurs between the two groups as they argue the definitions of the terms ‘big’ and ‘small.’
The argument is interrupted by an enormous pair of feet. Literally. Feet, attached to the legs of a creature so large it does not fit on the page, just BOOM into the middle of the argument. These feet are immediately followed by tiny little bears on parachutes floating down around the feet. Why? Where do they come from? What brought them here? No one knows. No one cares. They are there and they are proof that the big bears are not really big and the small bears are not really small because…see!…there is someone bigger, and someone smaller.
From an adult’s perspective, this is cute, yet rather incomplete. There’s a lot of unanswered questions (after all).
From a child’s perspective this is AWESOME! The feet are the first highlight. The first giggle. The little bears floating down are the next giggle. The following quotes generate exclamations of agreement:
“See? I am not small?”
“See? I am not big.”
The original bears leave. A tiny bear looks up at the giant feet and says “You are hairy.” At which point hilarity ensues and the giggles don’t stop for many minutes.
I love this book. I think it’s cute as can be and have neither complaints nor concerns about the story or the images. I also think it is a story that can only be fully understood by a child. Which is a high compliment for a children’s book (IMO).