cover image A Pig Is Big

A Pig Is Big

Douglas Florian. Greenwillow Books, $17.99 (24pp) ISBN 978-0-688-17125-4

In the first of Florian's (Mammalabilia) delicately painted, thoughtfully conceived watercolors, just a tip of an ear and the top of a hat hint at the answer to the question, ""What's big?"" At the turn of the page, readers discover that ""a pig is big./ A pig is fat./ A pig is bigger than my hat."" The world widens with each additional line, from the smiling, peachy pig to a city street and eventually to the wide blue universe. Florian's illustrations grow increasingly complex without overwhelming readers with detail. But while the initial jaunty verses are just right for preschoolers, both language and concepts become more sophisticated as the book progresses: ""What's bigger than a city?... The earth's dimensions do excel./ In magnitude it is gigantic,/ From Katmandu to the Atlantic."" Florian occasionally scrambles the sense of his verses for the sake of the rhyme (""A cow is bigger than a boar or sow./ It's bigger yesterday and now""). In general, though, the presentation is clever and humorous, well suited for elementary school children prepared to grasp the size of a universe as ""the biggest thing of all./ Compared to it all things seem small."" Ages 3-up. (Oct.)