cover image Bigger


Daniel Kirk. Putnam Publishing Group, $15.99 (32pp) ISBN 978-0-399-23127-8

In this well-conceived, deceptively simple book about the stages of a child's development, Kirk (Breakfast at the Liberty Diner) conveys a boy's pride at growing bigger. The first two spreads, highlighted in glowing red-gold hues, show tiny snapshot-sized drawings of the child in the womb (""Once I was very small. I was so small that I was hardly even me""). As the pages turn, time advances. The boy lies in his crib, crawls, walks and learns to read as he narrates the story in retrospect; his toy monkey sits in the bassinet when he is a baby, and later hangs on his arm as he explores a real zoo. Throughout, the boy's voice suggests a maturing sense of responsibility: ""I could stand on my toes and touch the doorknob, and the telephone, and the light switch on the wall... even though I wasn't supposed to."" Each spread, composed on a black background, showcases the image on the right, the text on the left, printed in white type, in letters that increase in point size with each new observation. Likewise, the illustrations, which fit in a rectangle, expand page by page, so that full-bleed pictures eventually sprawl across the gutter and crowd the words. Kirk's illustrations feature airbrushed, bright colors, crisp edges and a smooth finish. The stylized pictures match the idealized account of growing up, which bubbles with satisfaction and wonder. Ages 2-6. (Apr.)