cover image The Biggest Boy

The Biggest Boy

Kevin Henkes. Greenwillow Books, $19.99 (32pp) ISBN 978-0-688-12829-6

Even though this collaboration lacks the inspiration of some of the Caldecott Honor artists' previous work, its soft cadences and peaceful wind-down recommend it as a bedtime readaloud. Tafuri's (Have You Seen My Duckling?) unadorned, large-scale watercolor and black-ink pictures depict protagonist Billy as quite big indeed, while Henkes's (Owen) straightforward text relays how the preschooler can now eat with a fork, get dressed alone and even help with the dishes. Billy, impressed with his powers, predicts that he'll be the ""biggest boy in the world."" Much to his delight, his parents' imagination takes wing: they describe-and pictures playfully show-how Billy will grow so big that he can wear his house like a vest, hang a rainbow around his neck, etc. At last Billy climbs into bed and-in a satisfying scene that will elicit knowing smiles from youngsters-is once again convinced that he's ""the biggest boy"" when he stretches his fingers toward the window and measures their size against the full moon, which appears ""no bigger than a marble."" Sweet and simple. Ages 3-up. (Apr.)