cover image Bigger Than a Bumblebee

Bigger Than a Bumblebee

Joseph Kuefler. HarperCollins/Balzer + Bray, $18.99 (40p) ISBN 978-0-06-269165-1

In a loving meditation that connects relative size with love’s largesse, a child’s caretaker considers the child’s stature in comparison to components of the natural world. “My little darling,/ you are so big,” begins simple, affectionate text by Kuefler (Pillow Places), as a pink-skinned adult and child are shown cuddling on a golden hill. Subsequent pages contrast the child’s size with diminutive flora and fauna—“the dandelions rising// and the caterpillars/ climbing”—until a spread showing the child’s small hand against the adult’s larger one provides a narrative turn: “You are big./ But you are small, too.” Comparisons to larger beasts and elements follow (“You are smaller than/ the brown bear fishing/ and the waterfall flowing/ and the granite rocks/ growing moss on their sides”). Finally, streakily textured images convey love as an emotion that transcends the book’s main organizing principle: an adult and child elephant kiss, a mature flamingo attends an egg, and a sheep and lamb nuzzle until the image returns to the human duo in this linguistically and visually spare ode to a tenderness that’s “small,/ but it is big, too.” Ages 4–8. (Sept.)