The New Small Person

illus. by Lauren Child. 32p. Candlewick. Feb. 2015. Tr $17.99. ISBN 9780763678104. LC 2014939346.
PreS-Gr 2—Elmore Green's life as an only child is sheer bliss. He has his own room, and no one ever changes the channel or messes with his toys. Of course, "Elmore Green's parents thought he was simply/the funniest, cleverest, most adorable/person they/had ever seen." All of that changes when his baby brother is born. Elmore goes from feeling displaced to angry to just wanting to be alone, until one night, everything changes. The characters are people of color and have the same expressive eyes, and Child's mixed-media images are done in the same signature style as in the "Charlie and Lola" series. The large font flows in curves on some pages and is choppy on others, working well with the illustrations to convey the older boy's feelings. The childlike perspective and simple illustrations will make this story a favorite for any kid who has ever been faced with a new sibling or has ha d to learn to share. Preschoolers will enjoy hearing this story, while independent readers will love the big print and colorful, cartoon illustrations. A worthwhile addition to any collection.—Jennifer Simmons, Anderson County Library, SC
Young Elmore Green's worldview is upended by the arrival of a baby sibling. As the baby grows bigger--and bossier and peskier--so does Elmore's resentment. The "small person" finally proves worthwhile by bravely shooing away big-bro's nightmare. Child (creator of Charlie and Lola) is no stranger to fraught sibling dynamics; her mixed-media collages sympathetically reflect the experiences of a no-longer-only child.
What firstborn doesn't revel in being thought of by his parents as "simply the funniest, cleverest, most adorable person they had ever seen"? Such is the case with young Elmore Green, whose worldview is upended by the arrival of a new baby sibling. As the baby grows bigger -- and bossier and peskier -- so does Elmore's resentment, until: "One awful day, the small person moved its bed into Elmore Green's room. Now Elmore couldn't get away from it. It was always there, looking at him." Lest we forget whose side we're on, the omniscient narrator refers to the baby throughout as "the small person" or, more pointedly, "it." And Elmore's got a point; the baby is shown doing all the annoying things little kids do: stealing toys, being a copycat, demanding its own way, etc. At the same time -- and although Elmore's not impressed -- we see some of its endearing qualities ("Sometimes it would stretch out its arms and say, 'Huggie!'"). The small person finally proves its worth by bravely shooing away big-bro's nightmare, and Elmore realizes the value of having someone who's always got your back. Child (creator of Charlie and Lola, who, with their big, expressive, oval-shaped eyes, bear resemblance to these kids) is no stranger to fraught sibling dynamics, and her trademark mixed-media collages -- textured, fragmented, always with a kid's-eye view -- sympathetically reflect the experiences of a no-longer-only child. elissa gershowitz

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