cover image I Am Small

I Am Small

Emma Dodd. Scholastic/Cartwheel, $8.99 (24p) ISBN 978-0-545-35370-0

In the manner of her previous small-format books for younger readers, Dodd (Meow Said the Cow) presents a child's-eye view of the world and the child's place in it. The speaker is an engagingly plump and downy young emperor penguin%E2%80%94"The world is fast... and I am small. The ocean is deep... and I am small"%E2%80%94who finishes by addressing the larger emperor penguin on whose feet it nestles: "I may be small, but I can see/ the biggest thing to you... is me!" While Dodd's artwork for older readers is often tongue-in-cheek, these spreads have a serious, almost stately quality. A striking underwater view shows the trails of bubbles left behind by diving penguins, the water's blue darkening to indicate chilly depths; a steep, foil-embossed slope is a mountain down which the penguin chick slides, snow flying off into a somber, slate-gray sky; and an adult penguin cuddles the chick, touching its beak as a crescent moon is reflected in an icy pool. It's a reminder that Dodd isn't all clever British cheek; she's a fine graphic artist as well. Up to age 3. (Sept.)