The Tallest of Smalls

( 22 )


An encouraging message for children: When you feel like you’re the smallest of smalls, Jesus’ love can make you feel like the tallest of talls.

A delightful rhyming story about the Too-Smalls who live in the
Stiltsville. Every evening a six, the Too-Smalls meet in the square where they hope they’ll be picked to receive stilts to strut about above the stilt-less masses below. They come to see if they matter—if ...

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The Tallest of Smalls

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An encouraging message for children: When you feel like you’re the smallest of smalls, Jesus’ love can make you feel like the tallest of talls.

A delightful rhyming story about the Too-Smalls who live in the
Stiltsville. Every evening a six, the Too-Smalls meet in the square where they hope they’ll be picked to receive stilts to strut about above the stilt-less masses below. They come to see if they matter—if they’re awesome, if they’re pretty, if they’re clever, or funny. Ollie,
the smallest of too-smalls, pleas to be picked. He wants to be like the high-ups of Stiltsville who are proud of their stilts, the ultimate status. But once he gets stilts, oh how it hurts when he stumbles and tumbles and loses his stilts. That is . . . until he meets Jesus who chose low over high telling him, "Keep your feet on the ground. You matter already.”

This book for kids coordinates with Max's trade book, Fearless, releasing in September 2009.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
Inspired by Lucado's adult book, Fearless: Imagine Your Life Without Fear, this earnest if faltering fable is set in Stiltsville, where residents gather daily to learn who's been chosen to receive stilts that will elevate them above “the less and the least,/ the shy and shier,/ the not-cools and have-nots/ who want to go higher.” Among those never selected is Ollie, who is “too common and dull/ for the gang of the cool.” When he finally is given a pair of stilts, Ollie smirks as he towers over others, until birds upset his balance and he tumbles to the ground. Jesus appears to urge him to “Keep your feet on the ground,/ refuse to be stilted” and lets Ollie know that he loves him. Busy, earth-toned cartoons and text in an array of sizes and colors make for some cluttered spreads. Though the verse is clunky and awkward from the outset (“Perhaps you don't know—/ then, maybe you do—/ the Too Smalls of Stiltsville/ and their story for you”), Lucado's fans will likely respond to his message of choosing humility over popularity. Ages 4–7. (Nov.)
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781400315147
  • Publisher: Nelson, Thomas, Inc.
  • Publication date: 11/3/2009
  • Pages: 32
  • Sales rank: 580,031
  • Age range: 4 - 7 Years
  • Product dimensions: 8.60 (w) x 11.00 (h) x 0.40 (d)

Meet the Author

Max Lucado

More than 120 million readers have been inspired by the words of Max Lucado. He lives with his wife, Denalyn, and their mischievous mutt, Andy, in San Antonio, Texas, where he serves the people of Oak Hills Church.

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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4.5
( 22 )
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See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 22 Customer Reviews
  • Posted December 7, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    I Also Recommend:

    Max Lucado's The Tallest of Smalls

    When I first read Max Lucado's Fearless and learned about the people of Stiltsville, I thought it to be a rather amusing way of relating a serious issue. Imagine my surprise when I saw the illustration be turned into a children's book.

    Lucado's The Tallest of Smalls is a children's book that uses didactic poetry and beautiful, earth toned, illustrations to tell a story. The story is about the Stiltsvillians and their caste system; dividing their people between those with stilts and those without. It tells the story of a little boy named Ollie and his desire to be picked as one of those that receive a set of stilts. Only those citizens whose names are picked can receive their stilts. Otherwise, they are left on the ground with the others.

    One night Ollie's name is called to receive a pair of stilts. Once he was elevated on his stilts he began to learn that it was not as easy as he once thought it was. He experienced trouble and eventually fell of his stilts. When he was at his lowest and no one else was there to help, he is helped by Jesus and given some advice that changes his life.

    The Tallest of Smalls is a great book that helps children understand self-esteem and the love of Jesus. Lucado's book helps children understand that they do not have to fear what others might say. Because no matter if a child's peers do not pick them to play or consider them to be cool, there is always someone that loves us just for who we are and nothing more.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 1, 2013

    strongly recommend

    Enjoyed the way it was presented on the nook. Max does a great job with his children books.

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  • Posted January 26, 2010

    Good story, great message.

    I bought this book when I was looking for a gift for my godson's baptism. His mom said they had enough children's Bibles to last them a lifetime but that they'd appreciate some books based on the Bible. This was the first book I found at Barnes and Noble and I really think I was meant to find it. The main character's name is Ollie and so is my godson's! I mean, how many Ollies are there out there these days?!?! Not only that but I truly believe the message of the book. I hope when Ollie reads it (when he gets older), he will enjoy the fun cadence of the writing but that he will also understand how precious he is and that he matters to Jesus. I hope this book will be one of the tiny building blocks of his Christian faith.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 10, 2010

    Simple way to put a great message

    Max shows a great story here by explaining how we aspire to be what others are, and how when we finally get what we want it's not quite as we had planned - but when we learn to see ourselves the way Jesus does, we learn that we are much more valuable than we think. I love this book!

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  • Posted December 7, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    The Tallest of Smalls

    The Tallest of Smalls is a delightful little children's book by Max Lucado. It tells the story of Ollie, a young citizen of Stiltsville who is different from the rest. The people of the town gather to give out stilts to those they deem "cool." Much symbolism rides in this story, and younger children may not totally understand it all. With the help of an adult, though, it will teach a valuable lesson that it's not always good to be above the rest. Side note: It is very obvious that Dr. Seuss had an influence on Lucado when writing this book.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 14, 2009

    Fantastic Children's book!

    The Tallest of Smalls is a wonderful new children's book written by none other than Max Lucado!

    It is themed from the second chapter of his newly released book for adults: Fearless. This book offers an extremely important message to children... that even though they may feel "too small", "not good enough", or like they "don't fit in", we matter more than we could ever comprehend to God!

    The book is written in a fun rhyming style, reminiscent of the classic Dr. Seuss books, and is catchy and enjoyable in its rhythm. The illustrations are also fun and whimsical! This beautiful picture book is the perfect package to share the unconditional love of Jesus with children!

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  • Posted November 5, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    The Tallest of the Smalls by Max Lucado, Thomas Nelson Publishers

    The Tallest of the Smalls
    authored by Max Lucado
    Thomas Nelson Publishers

    In Stiltsville, you either matter or you don't. And only those who matter get to choose who else will matter and be important. Ollie wants to be among those 'who matter'. He gets his wish and finds out that being one of the Tallest is not what he'd hoped. Great lesson for kids, and even adults.

    My seven-year-old and I really enjoyed The Tallest of the Smalls. Great story with a great lesson about our perspectives, our values, and in Whom we should filter those through. The only thing that stumbled us was the cadence being interrupted with a little tongue-twisting in some of the words used. Also, turning of the pages is another thing that broke the rhythm because of the way the text is written in verse. But overall, the story and takeaway, along with the beautiful illustrations make this book a winner in our house. We'll have fun rereading The Tallest of the Smalls. Kudos to author Max Lucado and illustrator Maria Monescillo.

    I'm thankful to Thomas Nelson Publishers for the complimentary copy of this book for review as a part of the Book Review Bloggers program.

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  • Posted November 5, 2009

    I Also Recommend:

    Love it!

    When I learned I was going to be review for Thomas Nelson, I immediatley knew I wanted to pick a children's book. Moochie has been really into books lately. Mostly riping up the pages, but when she can't get a hold of them she loves to listen to me read and look at the pictures. I picked The Tallest of Smalls by Max Lucado, and it is Illustrated by Maria Monescillo. Max Lucado is a minister of writing and preaching for the Oak Hills Church in San Antonio, and has 3 daughters.
    The Tallest of Smalls by Max Lucado is a parable taken from his book Fearless. I really love this story. It sends a great massage that I think is very important that kids understand. It helps them understand that even if we are different, and don't feel like we fit in, they matter to the most important person in their lives like their parents, or whatever god you may be believe in.

    Ollie is the smallest of the too smalls, just waiting for his chance to be called upon for his pair of special stilts. The day finally comes and his name is called. But what Ollie doesn't know is having stilts isn't all it's cracked up to be. After birds start perching on him, he realizes he doensn't want the stilts, and walks home. Along his side is Jesus, who tells him that he doesn't need stilts to be special, he's special becuase he was made by god.

    What I love even more than the story is the illustrations. It's bright, colorful, and perfect for kids of any age. The font the story is written in is really fun too, it's different sizes and colors. That may keep some kids interested when learning to read. Most of the book also rhymes, making it a fun, intelligent read. Your kids will love this book, I gurantee!

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  • Posted November 5, 2009

    Good book for every family!

    Max Lucado books are a favorite of mine. That's why I was thrilled to have the opportunity to review The Tallest of Smalls book thanks to Thomas Nelson Publishers! The Tallest of Smalls is a parable from Max Lucado's Fearless, and discusses what to do if your child is feeling small or insignificant in this giant world they are living in.

    When I first received the book in the mail, the first thing that caught my attention were the great pictures!! Reading it to my 2 year old granddaughter, I could see this is what caught her attention the most too. I love the colors and illustrations! The book also teaches an important lesson as we walk with Ollie through his journey in this book. He had a need to feel wanted and realized that God made him the way he is for a reason and that because of Jesus' love he is who he needs to be and that's what makes him special.

    I would definitely recommend this book to any family with children. I think it's important that when children are feeling that desperate need to be wanted, that we are able to share with them that it's not necessarily what the populars think of us, but who we are in Jesus and that's what makes us special. I think it would probably be easier for children preschool age and older to understand, but know that young children would enjoy it as well.

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  • Posted November 4, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    We love The Tallest of Smalls by Max Lucado!

    I think both children and adults will enjoy The Tallest of Smalls. The story is written in a rhyming parable, showing that we can never be quite good enough to elicit the world's adoration for long, but, that really isn't what is important, after all.

    The artwork is exquisite. I love the beautiful little faces Maria Monescillo draws. The characters are so expressive, and the colors, so vibrant. My four year old and twelve year old daughters are reading it over and over:)

    I loved Max Lucado's book, Fearless. You can read my review of that book, here. I found that his voice is clear and his writing is concise and useful. I loved how he just put into words some of my worst fears (you know, the ones you do not talk about, like, "what if my child is very ill", or "my husband is in a horrible wreck") and then, dissected them, bit by bit, and rid them of their terror...using God's word. The man is definitely a gifted writer. I respect that God has given him that gift.

    And, as a mom, I am so excited when I can share something with my children that is special. I think it is funny that Max chose to develop this children's book based on chapter two of his book, Fearless. To be frank, I skimmed chapter two! I was looking for serious help with my fears--and now, I am realizing that chapter was pretty important...

    This book makes a wonderful gift for a child and does have a personalization page.

    I am a member of the Thomas Nelson Blogger Program.

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  • Posted November 3, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    The Tallest of Smalls - Max Lucado

    Have you ever felt lonely or unimportant? Have you ever been picked last? Often in this world, even in the best of circles, we are the ones on the outside of the "insiders."

    Max Lucado weaves the vital theme of acceptance in a tale of a boy named Ollie who has learned the hard way. Ollie and the people of Stiltsville longed to be chosen, to be among those who mattered.

    This world has sharp and jagged edges that stab our souls even by the ones nearest to us. Yet the good news for the Christian is that he is chosen already by One Who came unto His own and was rejected. Because Jesus Christ endured rejection for us, we find acceptance with the One Who matters. And because we are made and remade in His image, everything that we do is infused with meaning.

    My three children enjoyed the rhyme of this story and caught the drift of the boy who fell from stilts. They are loved not because of their performance, they are loved because of the One Who has picked them up from their broken stilts and has carried them to the highest of heights. Do you long to be known, loved and accepted? Do you want to be noticed by the One Who knows what its like to be unnoticed?

    Read this book to a young child and more importantly, you will hear what Jesus said, "Do you want to stand out? Then step down. Be a servant. If you puff yourself up, you'll get the wind knocked out of you. But if you're content to simply be yourself, your life will count for plenty." Matthew 23:11-12, The Message

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  • Posted October 27, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    I Also Recommend:

    Charming Without Being Dumbed Down

    For years I have loved Max Lucado's children's book, You Are Special, and Tallest of Smalls was no letdown. Written with a style similar to the Dr. Seuss we all grew up with, Tallest of Smalls is a beautiful story that touches readers young and old alike. The story applies to our every day life showing us how people or things can never really satisfy our desire to feel special, significant, and admired. Written in a rhyme that captivates children, Tallest of Smalls shares with them a message of value and self-worth that they can understand without simplifying it to something that lacks real meaning. Illustrations from artist Maria Monescillo help the story really come to life in your mind's eye as you read about Ollie, a young boy who just wanted to be admired like all the other people with stilts. One day his wish is granted and he receives his stilts. But as he tries to be like the others, he finds he cannot stand. With a pride-shattering fall, he finds himself stiltless and right back where he started. But as he sits in his sadness, Jesus comes to him and tells him everything he'd been longing to hear from the crowd, and everything he thought he would find in the stilts. Readers will find this is be a charming story that tells us what we all long to hear, "I may not be much, the smallest of smalls. But since Jesus loves me, I'm the tallest of talls."

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  • Posted October 26, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    Important Message for Young Children

    The Tallest of Smalls is a children's book that illustrates what can happen when we want or try to be like everyone else. It portrays feelings of being left out and what can happen once we finally get "in". It ends with being reminded of how special we each are.just the way we are. It is targeted for children ages 4-8.

    The story reaches the capacity of a child's mind, but without dumbing it down. The rhymes are engaging and really help grab the attention of young children. The illustrations are interesting and colorful, and my children wanted to stop at each page to thoroughly look them over.

    Mr. Lucado had a great message and I believe it is one that needs to be conveyed to our children over and over again. This is not the first book of it's kind that he has written. I think it is wise to have several stories portraying a similar message. It could really plant those seeds of love and acceptance into our children's hearts to hear it repetitiously.

    I recommend this sweet book to mothers of young children. The message is a crucial one and displayed in a thoughtful way in this book.
    *Book provided by the Blog Review Network of Thomas Nelson Publishers

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  • Posted October 26, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    "The Tallest of Smalls" by Max Lucado

    "The Tallest of Smalls" by Max Lucado and Illustrated by Maria Monescillo is a marvel of a children's book. It takes place in its own little town that--albeit unusual--is not too far off for little ones to grasp. In Smallsville, the townspeople are tiny and await a time each day when they get the opportunity to be called to walk on stilts. A little boy named Ollie is short and imperfect. Those around him tend to look down upon him--both literally and physically. Then, one day, his name is called to walk on stilts. Everything feels stupendous as he perches upon those sticks and is tall for a bit. However, birds perch on him and make him lose his balance. When he falls, no one but Jesus helps him up or even seems to care. At the conclusion, Ollie realizes that he is fine as he is and that no status or elevation matters at all when compared to the everlasting love of God. The pictures aren't bad, either. ;)

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  • Posted October 23, 2009

    Tallest of Smalls

    The Tallest of Smalls by Max Lucado and illustrated by Maria Monescillo is a children's story about wanting to fit in with the crowd. We've all felt the disappointment of not being chosen by the "in" crowd or wanting something very strongly only to find that when we have this thing, it is not all we thought it was going to be. In this book Ollie, a young boy learns these lessons the hard way, but in the end realizes that he is special and loved all the time when he meets Jesus. I don't recommend this book for toddlers, I think the message and the vocabulary are too difficult for them to understand, but any school age child could feel empathy for Ollie.

    The illustrations are bold, bright and appealing. If you want to gift this book there is a page in front to personalize. After reading this book aloud I felt like some of the rhyming patterns are tongue twisters and did not flow well. This story's message of how we are all special and how we don't need others approval is one that children cannot hear too often, but I wouldn't pay the full retail price for this book.

    I reviewed this book as a member of the Thomas Nelson's Book Review Blogger Program.

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  • Posted October 23, 2009

    I Also Recommend:

    Great Book for your kids

    The first book I ever read by Max Lucado was "You Are Special" I enjoy that little book so much the meaning that was brought out in that book still with me today. Much like that book Max has done it again with his new book "The Tallest of Smalls". It is a parable take for Max's book "Fearless" that was release a few months ago.

    This book is geared toward young children and teaches them that they do not need to be part of the tall and mighty that God made them just the way they are for a reason. This book is very well done and the illustrations are wonderful. With Christmas only a few months away this book is a perfect gift.

    Thanks to Thomas Nelson Book Review for the free copy of this book.

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  • Posted October 22, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    Feeling Tall!

    After reading Max Lucado's Fearless I was jumping at the chance to review his newest children's book, The Tallest of the smalls. On the first page Lucado asks parents, "What do you do when your child feels small and insignificant? What do you say to smooth hurt feelings? What does your child need from you?" The answer to those questions is on the pages of this book.

    In Stiltsville there are those that are low and those that aren't. Every day at the exact same time the lows are reminded of their position when 'they' come out and parade around on their stilts. In a show of superiority they choose one person from the lowly crowd to ".move up the ladder." Of course we all know that when you try to be something you're not or hold yourself to someone else's standards and judgments you are bound to fall. And when you fall in Stiltsville 'they' will be there to laugh and take away their good judgments. But their judgments don't matter, or God loves us and wants us to keep our feet on the ground.

    The book is beautifully illustrated by Maria Monescillo. I liked the simple, non-descript faces on the characters, the rich colors and seemingly textured clothing. Still the images didn't overpower the text and instead created a nice balance.

    I highly recommend this book. While reading it to my little ones they felt sorry for the main character Ollie before he got his stilts and they felt even worse when he fell back to the ground. By relating to Ollie I think it helped them to understand that Jesus is there for us and doesn't want us to make ourselves into someone else's image. We were made in his image and he loves us!

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  • Posted October 17, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    The Tallest of Tales

    The mark of any great children's book surely must be the "read it again daddy!" factor. I believe this book has that potential. Now I will be the first to admit that upon the very first read I was left a bit underwhelmed, confused even. I found the font to be confusing and overly complicated, I thought. The artwork is cool but maybe a bit overdone and busy, especially for a smallest of smalls. However, upon further readings I enjoyed the book and was delighted with the ending and the overall story. Lucado creates a wonderful tale bringing in the full range of human behavior: grass is greener on the other side, envy, pride, bitterness, class struggles, depths of despair, heights of success and probably many more nuances that I missed. Where you may miss them in the text you will certainly catch them in the detail and unique perspectives in the artwork. For example, my favorite page of art is the foot page. All you see is a view from the top looking down at Ollie's and Jesus' feet. Its very emotive and really captures the whole message of the book in a single image. Here is where Ollie, who has been looking up his whole life wishing he could look down on others, now looks down in this defining moment of repentance and true humbling. Don't climb up to look down but look down from being knocked down and you will see a Savior who was humiliated in every way beyond our imagination.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 28, 2013

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted December 7, 2009

    No text was provided for this review.

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