cover image Too Little, Too Big

Too Little, Too Big

Chronicle Books, Colette Hellings. Chronicle Books, $10.95 (1pp) ISBN 978-0-8118-0530-8

Brussels natives Hellings and Maes, a married couple making their picture-book debut, stress tolerance in this good-natured story of two oddball mice. Mini-mouse Edith--whose polka-dot skirt indeed suggests Mickey's main squeeze--tries everything to make herself grow, but she's ``too little.'' Sick of taking medicine and stretching, Edith runs away to ``a place where being little didn't matter.'' Meanwhile, maxi-mouse Arnold, whose clothes never fit his lanky frame, tires of being ``too big.'' Even though he puts heavy books on his head to reduce his height, his classmates still call him ``Giraffe.'' He, too, runs away. In a speedy wrap-up, he and Edith meet, live ``happily ever after . . . and love all their children, little and big.'' Maes's Euro-flavored illustrations have a gentle, crayony texture, somewhat like fellow Belgian Cecile Bertrand's (see above review of the Noni board books), and his portrayal of bespectacled Arnold recalls the eponymous star of Where's Waldo? While this book's target audience shouldn't worry about meeting their soul mates any more than they should consider running away an ideal remedy, Hellings and Maes clearly understand nonconformists and help dispel the awkwardness that comes with being ``too'' anything. Ages 2-6. (Sept.)