cover image The Very Small

The Very Small

Joyce Dunbar. Harcourt Children's Books, $16 (32pp) ISBN 978-0-15-202346-1

An oversize format and the intriguing juxtaposition of large and little make for a fetching picture book from the team behind Tell Me Something Happy Before I Go to Sleep. Giant Baby Bear stumbles across a thimble-size ""something"" while playing in the woods one day, and takes the tiny creature home with him. Though the ursine fellow's size frightens the ""Very Small,"" he cheers up when his new friend builds him a playground with a seesaw made from a pencil and spool, and shares his dinner (the miniature guest eats ""one whole pea and five whole crumbs of bread""). After a bath, the new friends snuggle down for the night--until a sneeze from Giant Baby Bear sends Very Small flying serendipitously back to his own parents. Dunbar's catchy, well-paced sentences (the bear's mother ""gave a great big grin, showing all her great big teeth""), inspire Gliori's autumn-toned watercolors, which make the most of the contrasting sizes. Such enchanting vignettes as the teeny critter perched on the edge of its large host's plate or hiding his eyes from the scary sight of Giant Daddy Bear will win readers over. Ages 3-7. (Oct.)