Hewitt Anderson's Great Big Life

( 2 )


Young Hewitt Anderson is sweet, smart, polite—and very, very small. This warmly humorous tale is “proof that, when it comes to heart, physical size isn’t the whole story” (Kirkus Reviews).

Descended from a long line of giants, the J. Carver Worthington Andersons take their height very seriously indeed. You see, without exception all of the many J. Carver Worthington Andersons have been giants until now. And poor Hewitt—hidden in the floorboards, trapped in the flour vat, lost ...

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Young Hewitt Anderson is sweet, smart, polite—and very, very small. This warmly humorous tale is “proof that, when it comes to heart, physical size isn’t the whole story” (Kirkus Reviews).

Descended from a long line of giants, the J. Carver Worthington Andersons take their height very seriously indeed. You see, without exception all of the many J. Carver Worthington Andersons have been giants until now. And poor Hewitt—hidden in the floorboards, trapped in the flour vat, lost in the bedsheets—has his struggles being tiny. Oh, his parents worry: How will their son manage to live in a world of big things? Leave it to Hewitt to prove the power of being small.

Inspired by the tale of “Jack and the Beanstalk,” the inimitable Jerdine Nolen tells an original story of bravery and the power of the individual. Kadir Nelson’s imaginative and loving illustrations create a world where smallness rules—a world that children will want to return to again and again.

When tiny Hewitt is born into a family of giants, everyone learns that sometimes small is best of all.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
As far as the J. Carver Worthington Andersons, descendants of giants, were concerned, "big things were best!" But when their son Hewitt is born normal human size, the Andersons learn to shift their perspective, in this feel-good tall tale from the creators of Big Jabe. Mr. and Mrs. Anderson can't quite understand why Hewitt doesn't measure up, size-wise, but "they adored their puny, frail, delicate bundle of joy" and spent long hours worrying about him and helping him to have "a big life with big things in it!" Hewitt loves curling up in the palm of his father's hand and riding on the brim of his mother's bonnet. And best of all, the fellow's size is a bonus in several instances when he is able to save his parents from trouble. Gradually, Mr. and Mrs. Anderson come to understand that "Hewitt was perfect just as he was." Nolan revels in using descriptive and often rollicking turns of phrase to establish her larger-than-life scenes and characters. But as always, she infuses the proceedings with a warmth and lighthearted humor that makes her tale universally appealing. Nelson's depictions of the dark-skinned mountain-like Mr. and Mrs. Anderson and their comparatively tiny boy provide a strong yet fanciful backdrop for the tale. His supersaturated oil paintings feature a playful approach to size, scale and perspective that will instantly hook young readers. Ages 5-8. (Jan.) Copyright 2005 Reed Business Information.
School Library Journal
K-Gr 3-Hewitt Anderson is a normal-sized boy born into a family of giants who firmly believe that bigger is better. At the age of seven, their son is so tiny that his anxious parents consult doctors and specialists from all over the world. When none of them can explain "the circumstances surrounding Hewitt's small and unimposing stature," the loving parents formulate some lessons in survival for the boy. However, it is the little guy himself who ends up helping them survive the lessons. They are constantly amazed at Hewitt's resourcefulness and talents and finally realize that rather than worrying so much about his size, they should recognize that he is perfect just the way he is-something that the youngster already knows. Nelson's funny, larger-than-life oil paintings warmly depict this African-American family and give readers a real sense of gigantic proportions. They are visions of contrasts in size. On one page Hewitt stands on the mantle looking at family photographs. He is half the size of the smallest frame. In other pictures, he is curled up fast asleep in the center of his father's hand, or riding on the brim of his mother's bonnet. Told in colorful language that begs to be read aloud, this humorous, oversize book offers a gentle look at accepting others as they are.-Mary N. Oluonye, Shaker Heights Public Library, OH Copyright 2005 Reed Business Information.
Kirkus Reviews
Low on suspense but high on sheer feel-goodness, this Tom Thumb-like original tale will elicit sighs of content from readers and listeners needing a change of pace. Born to adoring, humongous parents, tiny Hewitt sometimes does get lost in his immense bed, or have to dive between the floorboards to avoid a passing broom. Still, not only do the good times far outnumber the chancy ones, but his size comes in downright handy when, for instance, his father carries him up a towering beanstalk, then turns out to be afraid of heights, or his parents lock themselves in the treasure house. Nelson's burly, monumental, brown-skinned giants positively glow with beneficence, and Nolen writes, as always, with a distinctive mix of humor and formality: Listening to his parents sing "made Hewitt's liver quiver and tickled his funny bone right down to his shoes." Here's proof that, when it comes to heart, physical size isn't the whole story. (Picture book. 6-8)
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781442460355
  • Publisher: Simon & Schuster/Paula Wiseman Books
  • Publication date: 1/1/2013
  • Edition description: Reprint
  • Pages: 40
  • Sales rank: 368,741
  • Age range: 5 - 8 Years
  • Lexile: AD980L (what's this?)
  • Product dimensions: 8.80 (w) x 10.80 (h) x 0.50 (d)

Meet the Author

Jerdine Nolen is the author of many award-winning books for children. She and Kadir Nelson collaborated on Thunder Rose, which School Library Journal called “a wonderful tale of joy and love”; and Hewitt Anderson’s Great Big Life, which received the Society of Illustrators’ Gold Medal. Jerdine Nolen lives with her family in Ellicott City, Maryland.

Kadir Nelson is the widely acclaimed illustrator of many books for children, including Thunder Rose, written by Jerdine Nolen, which received a Coretta Scott King Illustrator Honor Award; and Hewitt Anderson's Great Big Life, written by Jerdine Nolen, which won the 2005 Society of Illustrators Gold Medal. Kadir Nelson lives with his family in San Diego, California.

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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 5
( 2 )
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Sort by: Showing 1 Customer Reviews
  • Posted May 28, 2014

    Excellent bedtime story.  I have it on my Nook.  Sometimes I rea

    Excellent bedtime story.  I have it on my Nook.  Sometimes I read it to my granddaughter but most time I enjoy the read to me feature.  #1 fan of Kadir Nelson's illustratative talent.

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