The Biggest Boy


Billy is a big boy who can do all sorts of things by himself. And when his parents tell him he is growing bigger every day, he starts to imagine what it would be like to be the biggest boy in the world.

Billy and his parents discuss how big he is getting.

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Billy is a big boy who can do all sorts of things by himself. And when his parents tell him he is growing bigger every day, he starts to imagine what it would be like to be the biggest boy in the world.

Billy and his parents discuss how big he is getting.

Read More Show Less

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
Jessica, a friend only Ruthie can see, follows Ruthie to school on the first day of kindergarten. "Henkes never falters as he outlines the logic and reasoning behind Ruthie's affection for her invisible playmate," said PW. Ages 5-up. (May)
Children's Literature - Judy Katsh
Two master storytellers work their magic in this fanciful tale aimed at taking the potential "sting" out of growing up. Billy and his parents imagine together what feats he could perform if he grew to be The Biggest Boy in the world. After having their fun, the family concludes that the real Billy's size is perfect for now. The pretend sequence may not work for all youngsters or their adult reading partners, but the next-to-the last scene of Billy in bed is worth the price of the trip.
School Library Journal
PreS-KBilly, who is growing and gaining in competence, wonders what it would be like to be the biggest boy in the world. Together he and his parents laughingly imagine him as big as a house, able to move the clouds by blowing on them, to wear a rainbow like a necklace, to toss the sun like a ball, and so on. "`But right now' says his mother, `you are just the right size for a big boy your age.'" The good-night ritual in this intimate portrait concludes with Billy tucked into his cozy bed. The child looks out his window and holds up his hand, seemingly holding a marble-sized moon between his thumb and forefinger, confirming in his mind that he really is the biggest boy. While the text does not possess Henkes's trademark wit, its language is good humored and pleasing. The repetitive rhythm and pattern make it an excellent read-aloud. Tafuri's idealized, flat style is recognizable. Her strong, assured line reinforces the safety and stability of Billy's world. Unsaturated blue is the predominating color, lending an atmosphere of serene sheltered tenderness. Billy's world is clean, uncluttered, and idyllic. He has loving parents who have time to spend with him, his toys are educational and tidy. It is a disappointing omission that in an otherwise nurturing family, there is no sign of a book, not one story in the bedtime routine. Otherwise, this is a gentle and reassuring selection.Kate McClelland, Perrot Memorial Library, Greenwich, CT
Hazel Rochman
Like MacKinnon's "What Size?" and Jenkins' "Biggest, Strongest, Fastest" , this picture book has fun with size and power. Billy is a big boy who can eat with a fork, get dressed by himself, and reach up high. His parents tell him how big he's growing every day. Soon he'll need new clothes. Soon he'll go to school and ride a bike. Billy says he'll be bigger than his parents: "I'll be the biggest boy in the world." They all imagine Billy as a giant who can drink up lakes and blow the clouds and hang the rainbow round his neck. Then back to the real world, where he's "just the right size" for a boy his age. The extra-large pages have big, clear illustrations in soft watercolor inks and black pen; the pictures show Billy with his toys at home and then as a giant against the sky, wearing the roof of his house as a hat. The story enters right into a child's imaginative play.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780688128296
  • Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers
  • Publication date: 4/28/1995
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 32
  • Age range: 4 - 8 Years
  • Product dimensions: 10.25 (w) x 11.00 (h) x 0.25 (d)

Meet the Author

Kevin Henkes

Kevin Henkes is the author and illustrator of close to fifty critically acclaimed and award-winning picture books, beginning readers, and novels. He received the Caldecott Medal for Kitten's First Full Moon in 2005. Kevin Henkes is also the creator of a number of picture books featuring his mouse characters, including the #1 New York Times bestsellers Lilly's Big Day and Wemberly Worried, the Caldecott Honor Book Owen, and the beloved Lilly's Purple Plastic Purse. His most recent mouse character, Penny, was introduced in Penny and Her Song (2012); her story continued in Penny and Her Doll and Penny and Her Marble (a Geisel Honor Book). Bruce Handy, in a New York Times Book Review piece about A Good Day, wrote, "It should be said: Kevin Henkes is a genius." Kevin Henkes received two Newbery Honors for novels—one for his newest novel for young readers, The Year of Billy Miller, and the other for Olive's Ocean. Also among his fiction for older readers are the novels Junonia, Bird Lake Moon, The Birthday Room, and Sun & Spoon. He lives with his family in Madison, Wisconsin.

Nancy Tafuri's acclaimed picture books for the youngest child include the Caldecott Honor Book Have You Seen My Duckling?; Spots, Feathers, and Curly Tails; I love you, Little One; and In the Snow, written by Sharon Phillips Denslow. She lives with her family in Roxbury, Connecticut.

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    1. Hometown:
      Madison, Wisconsin
    1. Date of Birth:
      November 27, 1960
    2. Place of Birth:
      Racine, Wisconsin
    1. Education:
      University of Wisconsin, Madison
    2. Website:

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