cover image AS BIG AS YOU


Elaine Greenstein, . . Knopf, $14.95 (32pp) ISBN 978-0-375-81353-5

With layette-toned paintings and a series of nature-inspired similes, Greenstein (Mrs. Rose's Garden) charts the growth of a boy from birth to toddlerhood—and tutors the very young in the pleasures of an evocative turn of phrase. "When you were born,/ you were as big as a cabbage,/ .../ your ear was as wee as a sweet pea," she begins; on the facing page, a slumbering, curly-haired infant nestles among cabbage-colored swirls accented by Greenstein's signature scratchboard-like black outlines. Framed, single-page portraits of the maturing baby alternate with full-bleed double-spreads that illuminate the similes: in the spread that reads, "You were as quiet as a mouse," the baby is absent, but a snoozing mouse curled up in a pink bedroom slipper eloquently conveys the idea of silence. The seasons pass; at summer, the boy stands steadily on his own, "as high as a tomato plant." By book's end, the child cuts through a pile of radiant autumn leaves. As a handy extra, the inside of the book's jacket doubles as a growth chart. Ages 6 mos.-4 yrs. (Mar.)