cover image When I Grow Bigger

When I Grow Bigger

Trish Cooke. Candlewick Press (MA), $13.95 (32pp) ISBN 978-1-56402-430-5

A baby's-eye view of ``big'' kids and the frustrations of being small are drawn out to almost exasperating lengths in this wordy picture book. Baby Thomas is constantly teased by his older sister and her friends that he's ``just a little 'un,'' and they exclude him when they go to play in ``Thomas's dad's'' (an awkward phrase used repeatedly) wheelbarrow. The kids' play quickly erupts into bickering, and when Thomas's dad comes on the scene, his entrance is impressive. Filling the double-page spread with a Paul Bunyan-like presence, he scoops up tiny, low-to-the-ground Thomas, who first recognizes his father by the sight of his boots. The soft, sketchy watercolor-and-pencil illustrations have appeal; however, the quasi-comic strip format grows confusing as the story unfolds. The text rambles tediously as the children next attempt to ``MAKE THOMAS GROW!'' by physically stretching him. When Dad again intervenes, a happy Thomas rides atop his father's huge shoulders, satisfied to see the big kids look ``up, up, up, at Big Thomas having fun.'' But by the time Thomas reaches new heights, the reader's interest may well have fallen off. Ages 3-up. (Aug.)