Dec 5, 2011

Nonfiction Monday: Big and Small, Room For All

For Nonfiction Monday, a roundup of posts about nonfiction books for children, hosted this week by Gathering Books, my kids and I read Big and Small, Room for All (CAN, JP, US). This picture book was written by Jo Ellen Bogart, illustrated by Gillian Newland, and published by Tundra Books.

One of the staples in my kids' reading rotation is Big, Little by Leslie Patricelli. This is a great book. It has bright colours, illustrations that are so easy for your 18 month old to figure out, and it has rhythm. Which is why I didn't get bored of it the first 197 times I read it. But now...I'm a little over it.

That is why I am so glad we bought this book. It has a similar concept, but so much much more. I am sure I will be able to read this twice as many times and still have things to find in Newland's illustrations.

Big and Small, Room for All, is about perspective. It compares the sizes of things, so that children can figure out how huge the universe is and how tiny microorganisms are. Plus, it has rhythm. Not to mention some great questions. My kids are now obsessed with answering "What is smaller than a flea?" Usually the answer involves crushed up cereal, but hey, they're learning how to sweep right?

So the writing has everything- rhythmic, easy to understand sentences, so the sentence structure creeps into speech very quickly. Things kids know are juxtaposed against those they may not, making it easy for even a toddler to reference with the real world (such as universe vs. sky).

But the illustrations are what make this book. Just scroll up and look at that cover again. How many children's books are drawn with that much background? The finely detailed girl on a branch isn't just there, she's in a field with mountains kilometres in the background. This perspective is life-like and therefore great for kids to learn their place in the world.

This says it is aimed at kids 2-5 and honestly, I didn't think my 2-year old daughter would get it. But she does! I mean, she's not chatting about nebulae but she looks up at the night sky and knows there is more out there. That impressed me.

This is the 17th book I read for the 5th Canadian Book Challenge.


  1. There's an old-world feel to the book cover - reminded me of the Laura Ingalls Wilder books I read to my nine year old when she was younger. I love the play in perspective. Will definitely check out this book. Thanks for participating this week.

  2. With children's book, I feel the illustrations are as important as the message. This looks like a good one.


If you enjoyed this post, please feel free to share it.

I love comments! They make my day.