cover image Are You Big?

Are You Big?

Mo Willems. Union Square Kids, $17.99 (32p) ISBN 978-1-4549-4818-6

Willems (Opposites Abstract) takes the idea of relative size and pursues it all the way out into the universe in this conceptual title. “Are you big?” a narrating voice asks via bold, blocky text that occupies the book’s verso pages throughout. On the adjacent recto, a lilac-faced human figure stands expectantly on stick arms and legs. A page turn later, a bespectacled red balloon appears: “A hot air balloon is big.” The now-smaller-seeming stick figure peers up at it. Next, a cutout cloud strides onstage atop long legs, dwarfing the hot air balloon and the figure: “A cloud is big.” As the pattern continues (“A storm is big”), balloon and cloud shrink comparatively, and the stick figure is reduced to the size of a pencil eraser. Then Australia shows up, shrinking the stick figure to the size of a pencil point. As larger—and more galactic—entities arrive, the line of dwarfed objects grows longer, until a late entrant hints at the possibility of a parallel series of objects growing smaller and smaller. Size depends entirely on context, Willems hints in this spare, sprightly thought experiment, whose back matter compares all of the objects included at scale. Ages 3–5. Agent: Marcia Wernick, Wernick & Pratt. (Feb.)