Something Big

Sylvie Neeman, trans. from the French by Claudia Zoe Bedrick, illus. by Ingrid Godon. Enchanted Lion (Consortium, dist.), $16.95 (32p) ISBN 978-1-59270-140-7
Midway through this knowing exchange between a parent and child (who are referred to throughout as “the big one” and “the little one”), Neeman gets to the heart of the story’s paradox: “You want to do something big but it’s hard because you’re still little, isn’t that right?” the boy’s father asks. The father tries to tease out what his child has in mind, but they aren’t quite connecting. “I said it would be something big like a lighthouse... but I never said for sure it would be a lighthouse by the ocean,” complains the boy. “Oh, I get it,” replies his father, “even though he no longer gets anything.” Illustrating in childlike, crayony lines, Godon is entirely attuned to the boy’s frustration, her images jumbling together in much the same way one’s thoughts entangle when trying to work through a problem. When the two walk to the ocean together, the horizon line cuts through their bodies, which overlap with each other’s, too. “Big” and “little” are a matter of perspective, readers will understand, as Neeman and Godon elevate an intimate, everyday moment into something significant. Ages 4–8. (Sept.)
Reviewed on: 07/08/2013
Release date: 09/01/2013
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