I have been a fan of Lauren Child’s books for over ten years. There was something just something magical about her Charlie and Lola series. She took a pair of siblings, and placed them in ordinary situations like birthday parties and loose teeth. When complications arose, these siblings used creativity and their imaginations to solve their problems.
Lauren Child has written several picture books that do not feature Charlie and Lola, but most of these do not feature siblings. The New Small Person introduces us to Elmore Green, a young boy who likes things a certain way. He happily eats his orange jelly beans and lines up his toys, but then one day, a new small person arrives. Elmore is not happy about the intrusion, and does not appreciate that the small person is licking the jelly beans and wearing his fourth favorite outfit. Will Elmore ever find any use for this small intruder?
One of the best things about Lauren Child’s books are the illustrations. She prefers a collage style, and the result is a mix of cut-outs and textured clothing. Her use of different prints for clothing and bedding is very innovative. I also love the way that her text does not always appear in a standard format; on one page, a sentence appears vertically on the rungs of a ladder. This is such a visually appealing book, and it goes so well with the heartwarming story.
This is a lovely story about siblings, and how it can be difficult to adjust to life when a new sibling arrives. Elmore Green is a boy with some very specific interests. My girls could relate to him because they also like to have things a certain way; they could empathize with his frustration. They also loved that Elmore was watching Bat Cat on his little television. Bat Cat is a show that Charlie and Lola used to watch; it has been seen on the Charlie and Lola television series and in some of the books. When my girls saw Bat Cat, they sang the Bat Cat theme song. They’re silly like that!
I would absolutely recommend The New Small Person. This is a fun book about the relationship between siblings. Older siblings will empathize with having their “precious things” touched, and younger siblings will empathize with wanting to be just like their older sibling. This is a delightful standalone book, but I’m holding out hope for a series with Elmore Green and his small person!