cover image Think Big!

Think Big!

Liz Garton Scanlon, illus. by Vanessa Brantley Newton. Bloomsbury, $16.99 (32p) ISBN 978-1-59990-611-9

A group of children—with an assist from their fun-loving and attention-hogging cat—put together a theater production from scratch without a whiff of adult supervision. The event is revealed to be a kind of pageant of professions entitled “When We Grow Up!” and both the preparations and the production ensure no one is left on the sidelines, whether they’re singers and crafters (“Big voice/ On pitch/ Pin, trim/ Thread, stitch”) or potters and dancers (“Red clay/ Round wheel/ Spin, twirl/ Toe, heel”). Scanlon’s (All the World) brief, percussive rhymes and Newton’s (One Love) gently 1960s retro collages portray an industrious, competent, and preternaturally collaborative group. In fact, the lack of narrative or dramatic tension (one scene hints at a mild case of butterflies before the curtain goes up), not to mention the absence of any artistic mishaps, personality clashes, or other bloopers, makes this feel more like a well-rehearsed march than the embodiment of the final exhortation “Make art!” Ages 3–6. Agent: Erin Murphy, Erin Murphy Literary Agency. Illustrator’s agent: Lori Nowicki, Painted Words. (June)