cover image YOU'RE TOO SMALL!


Shen Roddie, , illus. by Steve Lavis. . Tiger Tales, $15.95 (32pp) ISBN 978-1-58925-385-8

All the animals in the barnyard tell Tad the mouse that he's too small to help with chores. Rabbit goes one step further and informs him that he's even too small to play. "You'll get blown away," says Rabbit when Tad asks if he can help fly a kite. But when the animals find themselves locked out of their barn at dinnertime, Tad comes to the rescue. "I don't have to be big to help," he declares, and he slips through a crack to unlock the door for his friends—but not before he helps himself to the biggest piece of pie as they enviously watch through the window. This plot has "chestnut" written all over it, but most youngsters are quick to welcome a tale about someone little proving the big guys wrong, and Roddie's (The Gossipy Parrot ) lively but concise prose reaps the narrative's power without relying on bells and whistles. In his expansive watercolors, Lavis (the Cock-a-Doodle Doo board books) works in warm oranges and reds, employing a generous sense of scale to draw readers into the action. And even very young children will note the distinct similarity between the polite-but-distracted countenances of all the big animals and that of their own harried parents. Ages 3-7. (Mar.)