Big Ben

Big Ben

by Sarah Ellis, Kim Lafave, Kim LaFave, Kim Lafave

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His sister is a big kid in grade five. His brother is a big kid in grade three. Ben is a little kid in preschool. He can’t swim; he can’t use chopsticks; he can’t even see out of the car window. If only he could bring home a real report card like the older kids do, then Ben would be happy. But there are no report cards in preschool. Sometimes older


His sister is a big kid in grade five. His brother is a big kid in grade three. Ben is a little kid in preschool. He can’t swim; he can’t use chopsticks; he can’t even see out of the car window. If only he could bring home a real report card like the older kids do, then Ben would be happy. But there are no report cards in preschool. Sometimes older siblings remember what it was like to be little, however, and Ben’s brother and sister are about to present Ben with his very own report card, grading him on all the activities that little brothers do best.
A triumph for little siblings everywhere, Big Ben was first published to great acclaim in 2001. Now the multi-award winning team of Sarah Ellis and Kim La Fave has adapted this classic for a board book presentation, the perfect format for readers with little hands—and bigger dreams.

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
The youngest of three, Ben longs to make the grade in Ellis's (Pick Up Sticks) affectionate tale of sibling solidarity. When report card time rolls around for sister Robin and brother Joe, Ben feels left out. "There are no subjects in preschool," Ben laments. "There are no report cards in preschool." Soon, Ben begins to notice lots of things he's too little to do, including swimming, eating with chopsticks and seeing out the backseat of the car. But before long, Robin and Joe come to the rescue, surprising Ben with a homemade report card that includes subjects like "feeding the cat," "shoe tying" and "tooth brushing." Outlined in strong black strokes, LaFave's (Catalogue) misty, mottled colors stand out against the bright white background as the artwork chronicles Ben's thwarted efforts, leading up to his brother's and sister's boost. Ages 3-6. (Dec.) Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information.
Children's Literature
When Ben's sister Robin, in grade five, and his brother Joe, in grade three, bring report cards home from school, Ben feels left out. He is only in preschool, and there are no report cards in preschool. Robin and Joe get to go swimming, but Ben can't swim. Robin and Joe can order from the menu and use chopsticks, but Ben can't read the menu and he can't use chopsticks. Even in the car on the ride home Ben can't see out the window, but Robin and Joe can see a dump truck and a man walking four dogs. But when they all get home, Robin and Joe make Ben a report card of his very own. His subjects are things that he does around the house;he gets excellent comments and a straight A on being the best little brother. The illustrations are charming and colorful, and the text is ideal for reassuring younger siblings that while they may not be able to do the same things as older brothers and sisters, there are things they can do that no one else can. 2001, Fitzhenry & Whiteside, $15.95. Ages 3 to 6. Reviewer:Danielle Williams
School Library Journal
PreS-Gr 1-It's not easy being the youngest, and Ben feels especially left out on report-card day. His older siblings receive grades and comments from their teachers. But, "Ben is a little kid in preschool. There are no subjects in preschool." Their parents proudly display the report cards on the fridge and Ben's feelings of inadequacy grow. Fortunately, as older siblings occasionally do, they recognize their brother's feelings. They use the family computer to make him his own special report card, giving him straight A's in important subjects like feeding the cat, shoe tying, tooth brushing, whistling, and making them laugh. The report card comes complete with positive comments and does much to improve the little boy's attitude, just in time for bed. The bright, comic-book faces of LaFave's characters are simple, yet highly animated. They display a broad range of emotions, with each illustration vivid against the ample white space. Children will relate to Ben's feelings and appreciate his siblings' kindness. A sweet story with a happy ending.-Piper L. Nyman, Fairfield/Suisun Community Library, Fairfield, CA Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information.
Kirkus Reviews
It's not easy to be darling and genuine, but this story from Ellis manages both without a hitch. It helps, too, that LaFave's (We'll All Go Sailing, not reviewed, etc.) artwork uses sweeping lines and bright colors on expansive fields of white to great effect. The story concerns the feelings of Ben, a preschooler whose older siblings have received report cards, and sensational ones at that. The cards get taped to the refrigerator and there is a general celebration to mark the good grades. Ben gets no report card: He's too little. And as the day progresses, he seems to be getting littler by the minute. He can't swim with the others, he can't see out of the car window like the others, and he doesn't want Chinese food or a bedtime story. He has, inevitably, a bellyache. All he wants is his blanket. But then his brother and sister come to his rescue. They fashion a report card for Ben: " ‘Does it have subjects?' says Ben. ‘Yes,' says Robin. ‘Your subjects are: Feeding the Cat, Shoe Tying, Tooth Brushing, Whistling, and Making Us Laugh.' " Ben gets straight A's, and the comments from his professors couldn't be more laudable. Well, suddenly Ben is feeling pretty spry. Maybe he'll just show his dad just how good he can tie his shoes, even though he ought to be in bed. The sweet after the sour: Perhaps Ben will have that leftover Chinese food as a midnight snack. (Picture book. 2-5)

Product Details

Fitzhenry & Whiteside, Limited
Publication date:
Edition description:
Large Print
Product dimensions:
8.36(w) x 10.31(h) x 0.40(d)
Age Range:
3 - 6 Years

Meet the Author

Sarah Ellis has written more than a dozen novels and picture books for young readers. Her many honors include the Governor General’s Award, the Mr. Christie Book Award, the Sheila A. Egoff Children’s Book Prize, and the prestigious Vicky Metcalf Award for a body of work. Written from her insightful memories of her own childhood and keen observations of the world around her, Ellis’ stories masterfully reflect her readers’ own experiences. She lives with her family in Vancouver, British Columbia.

Kim La Fave is a multi-award-winning illustrator and designer in paint, pencils, or digital media. His honors include the Governor General’s Literary Award for Illustration, the TD Canadian Children’s Literature Award, the Ruth Schwartz Children’s Book Award, and the Amelia Frances Howard-Gibbon Illustrator’s Award. A graduate of the Alberta College of Art, Kim also honed his skills in Toronto and New York before returning to British Columbia where he now lives with his wife and family.

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