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Tiny and Hercules
     

Tiny and Hercules

by Amy Schwartz
 

Another gem from Amy Schwartz just as "charming and hilariously understated*" as ever. (*New York Times)

Five fast and funny chapters of the lives of two rather unusual friends: Tiny, an elephant with a fear of ice skating and a newfound love of knitting, and Hercules, a mouse with a heart of gold and a desire to learn to paint. As different as can be,

Overview

Another gem from Amy Schwartz just as "charming and hilariously understated*" as ever. (*New York Times)

Five fast and funny chapters of the lives of two rather unusual friends: Tiny, an elephant with a fear of ice skating and a newfound love of knitting, and Hercules, a mouse with a heart of gold and a desire to learn to paint. As different as can be, somehow together they make the perfect team. Young readers setting out on their own with books will cheer for this funny and touching duo.

Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher

“Tiny, an elephant, and Hercules, a mouse, are best friends. Like all friends, sometimes they take turns suggesting what to do and manage to surmount their differing sizes and skills.” —The Chicago Tribune

“Five brief episodes tell how the pals take turns helping each other out, and Schwartz's clear, colorful drawings on white backgrounds offer plenty of assistance to newly independent readers.” —Horn Book

“Even the most sidesplitting moments in these stories are secondary to the touching portrait of a devoted friendship.” —School Library Journal

“The chaptery approach makes this inviting as a readalone or a serial readaloud, and illustratively inclined kids will appreciate the art-dependent conclusions of some of the stories.” —Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books

“This friendly cousin of Laura Vaccaro Seeger's Dog and Bear (2007) is filled with understated humor and even-tempered loyalty.” —Kirkus Reviews

Publishers Weekly

In this buoyant collection of five stories, marked by peppy dialogue and pastel-hued cartoons, Tiny the elephant and Hercules the mouse help each other wiggle out of tight spots. The humorous, often-wordless solutions to the characters' dilemmas are presented pleasingly in a "big reveal" at the end of each story. When Tiny can't get the hang of ice skating (even after "seventeen days of practicing"), the story's last page shows Hercules gliding along the ice holding the elephant over his head. In the final entry, the two knit each other sweaters, but the mouse can't come close to finishing a pachyderm-sized pullover ("you are a very big elephant. And these are very small knitting needles!"). A grateful Tiny perches Hercules's knitting on his head and proclaims it "the nicest hat I've ever had." Schwartz (A Teeny Tiny Baby) consistently portrays the characters' divergent dimensions to amusing effect-in one standout, Tiny serves as his friend's Rubenesque muse when the mouse has painter's block. But above all, it's shared affection that comes through loud and clear. Ages 4-8. (May)

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Children's Literature - Elizabeth Young
Two unlikely friends, Tiny, an elephant and Hercules, a mouse, share five engaging glimpses of their friendship, teaching us what being a friend is all about. We first meet this affable duo as Tiny receives an invitation to an ice skating party. Not knowing how to skate, Tiny accepts Hercules's offer for lessons. Things go from bad to worse until Hercules has an idea that makes both of them look spectacular. In the story of the art class, Hercules is expected to paint something "grand" and "stupendous." A mouse is not either and his efforts in his words are "a disaster." It is Tiny's turn to help out in his grand and stupendous way. Such are the snippets of stories in Schwartz's work, showing the honesty and reality of friendship as well as the support and encouragement true friends are for each other—and should be! Gentle watercolors portray the friends and their activities without overwhelming the text, allowing readers to enjoy each illustration on their own. The book is full of opportunities to ask what readers would do in each of the stories and would make for a fine creative thinking lesson without even seeming like homework! Reviewer: Elizabeth Young
School Library Journal

PreS-K

A droll, upbeat tale with cheery watercolor-and-ink illustrations. The story contains five vignettes about a mouse and an elephant, and the first giggle is right there in the title, since Tiny is the elephant and Hercules is the mouse. Each scenario requires some thought and ingenuity. Tiny is invited to an ice-skating party but doesn't know how to skate. Hercules needs to paint something LARGE for his art class. Rude customers shake Tiny's composure when the friends open a lemonade stand. Hercules's 103-year-old uncle can't blow out all the candles on his birthday cake. When Tiny and Hercules decide to knit each other sweaters, Tiny finishes his mouse-sized sweater long before Hercules can make inroads on an elephant-sized one. The tales are peppered with exclamations like, "Great idea!," "Don't worry," and "I think I can help you." In fact, even the most sidesplitting moments in these stories (as when Hercules holds Tiny aloft on the skating rink and does the skating for them both) are secondary to the touching portrait of a devoted friendship.-Susan Weitz, formerly at Spencer-Van Etten School District, Spencer, NY

Kirkus Reviews
This friendly cousin of Laura Vaccaro Seeger's Dog and Bear (2007) is filled with understated humor and even-tempered loyalty. Tiny, a pleasantly round, gray elephant, and Hercules, a reddish-brown mouse, support each other through five stories. When Tiny tries ice skating but "things [don't] go quite as planned" (as the narration calmly describes his swooping collapses), Hercules lays claim to his name by sailing across the ice holding Tiny aloft. They alternate as helper and helpee, dedicated to each other's feelings. The sweetest example occurs when an agreement to knit each other sweaters goes awry due to the diminutive size of Hercules's knitting needles. Tiny doesn't let his friend feel bad for even a jiffy; he simply places the miniscule sweater-attempt on his forehead, gracefully commenting, "This is the nicest hat I've ever had." Plenty of serene white space makes every page feel relaxed and open. Medium-saturated hues fill in fine, black outlines, and some of Tiny's postures are priceless. (Picture book. 3-6)

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9781596432536
Publisher:
Roaring Brook Press
Publication date:
05/12/2009
Edition description:
First Edition
Pages:
32
Product dimensions:
9.00(w) x 9.10(h) x 0.40(d)
Lexile:
AD310L (what's this?)
Age Range:
4 - 8 Years

Meet the Author

AMY SCHWARTZ is the author-illustrator of many distinguished books for children which have received rave reviews as well as a New York Time Best Illustrated citation. She lives with her husband and son in Brooklyn, New York.

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