cover image Tiny and Hercules

Tiny and Hercules

Amy Schwartz, . . Roaring Brook/Porter, $16.95 (32pp) ISBN 978-1-59643-253-6

In this buoyant collection of five stories, marked by peppy dialogue and pastel-hued cartoons, Tiny the elephant and Hercules the mouse help each other wiggle out of tight spots. The humorous, often-wordless solutions to the characters' dilemmas are presented pleasingly in a “big reveal” at the end of each story. When Tiny can't get the hang of ice skating (even after “seventeen days of practicing”), the story's last page shows Hercules gliding along the ice holding the elephant over his head. In the final entry, the two knit each other sweaters, but the mouse can't come close to finishing a pachyderm-sized pullover (“you are a very big elephant. And these are very small knitting needles!”). A grateful Tiny perches Hercules's knitting on his head and proclaims it “the nicest hat I've ever had.” Schwartz (A Teeny Tiny Baby ) consistently portrays the characters' divergent dimensions to amusing effect—in one standout, Tiny serves as his friend's Rubenesque muse when the mouse has painter's block. But above all, it's shared affection that comes through loud and clear. Ages 4–8. (May)