Big, Bigger, Biggest!

Overview

How would you describe a hippopotamus? Big might be the first word that comes to mind. What about a whale? Gigantic? Immense? How about enormous! What if you had to find a word for the biggest animal of them all—a dinosaur. Mammoth? Humongous? Colossal!

With its bright pictures of animals in all shapes and sizes, this terrific read-aloud introduces young children to the language of comparisons, synonyms, and antonyms.

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Overview

How would you describe a hippopotamus? Big might be the first word that comes to mind. What about a whale? Gigantic? Immense? How about enormous! What if you had to find a word for the biggest animal of them all—a dinosaur. Mammoth? Humongous? Colossal!

With its bright pictures of animals in all shapes and sizes, this terrific read-aloud introduces young children to the language of comparisons, synonyms, and antonyms.

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Editorial Reviews

Children's Literature - Hazel Buys
This book introduces the concept of comparisons, including antonyms and synonyms, beginning with "Big" and "Small." Similarly, "Fast" and "Slow" and "Hungry," "Slimy," and "Sleepy," though the last three do not include antonyms. At the end page, the reader is given six synonyms for "The End." The bold drawings are simple and bright, presenting thickly outlined animals colored with two or three tones of one or two colors. The comparisons would be enriched if the opportunities to combine concepts were taken. For example, a rabbit illustrates "small," but a rabbit is also "fast." Attention to scale would also reinforce the concepts. A hippopotamus illustrates "big," and a whale illustrates "bigger," but the animals are drawn the same size on the two-page spread. It would be fun if a mammoth were illustrated for "mammoth, humongous, colossal," but only the animal's feet and long tail are depicted. A mammoth does not have a long tail. A simple graphic could be included to further illustrate scale and speed comparisons of the different animals, which would reinforce learning and add interest. With these cautions, this book remains a useful introduction to comparison concepts for very young children. Reviewer: Hazel Buys
School Library Journal

K-Gr 2

This exercise in vocabulary expansion through synonyms and one-upmanship is innovative despite a few missteps. On the first page the hippo says, "I'm big. I'm large. I'm huge. I'm jumbo." On the facing page the killer whale says, "I'm bigger. I'm gigantic. I'm immense. I'm enormous." The following spread depicts a dinosaur's feet and tail with the words, "I'm biggest. I'm mammoth. I'm humongous. I'm colossal." And so it goes with each word-small, fast, slow, hungry, slimy and sleepy-going through its comparative and superlative forms, while several synonyms for each word are listed, and different animals are depicted. The acrylic on canvas illustrations show each simply drawn, boldly outlined animal on a color-saturated background with minimal-if any-props. However, at times Coffelt stretches to find enough words to fit the concept (e.g., "empty," "piggish," and "hoggish" for "hungry") and in some cases they do not seem to effectively increase in intensity. Is "droopy" really more tired than "spent," or "nimble" quicker than "speedy?" Finally, the fact that the "sleepiest" animal is a bat at night certainly is not educationally sound. Nevertheless, teachers looking for an innovative way to introduce synonyms and superlatives will certainly find much to work with here, and perhaps young listeners will be better able to express themselves after exposure to books of its ilk.-Amy Lilien-Harper, The Ferguson Library, Stamford, CT

Kirkus Reviews
An ingenious treatment of not only comparisons but also synonyms and antonyms that all the while exposes children to some fantastic vocabulary. A turtle illustrates slow, a sloth is slower and a snail is slowest. But that is only one adjective, and a rather ho-hum one, at that. Coffelt goes above and beyond the ho-hum. Penguin: "I'm fast. I'm quick. I'm hasty. I'm speedy." Dragonfly: "I'm faster. I'm nimble. I'm rapid. I'm swift." Cheetah: "I'm fastest. I'm fleet. I'm meteoric. I'm supersonic." For older children, this is a good lesson as to why the thesaurus should be used carefully, as not all the synonyms presented have exactly the same meaning. Big, small, hungry, slimy and sleepy are also included. The acrylic animals are truly illustrative of each adjective, painted with minimal detail on a plain background, a technique that keeps the focus on the text. The bright colors and clearly identifiable features will draw readers' eyes, while the lack of labels will beg children to yell out the animals' names. A solid addition to storytime, as well as to the shelves of English teachers. (Picture book. 3-7)
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780805080896
  • Publisher: Henry Holt and Co. (BYR)
  • Publication date: 3/31/2009
  • Edition description: First Edition
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 32
  • Sales rank: 822,296
  • Age range: 3 - 7 Years
  • Product dimensions: 9.20 (w) x 9.10 (h) x 0.40 (d)

Meet the Author

NANCY COFFELT is the author and illustrator of several books, including Dogs in Space and The Dog Who Cried Woof. She is also the author of Fred Stays with Me, illustrated by Tricia Tusa, which was named an ALA Notable Book. Nancy’s work is shown in galleries nationwide. She lives in Oregon.

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