The age-old dilemma of being the little kid on the block is tackled by Little Critter in this charming story on growing pains. The big kids at school are always picking on Little Critter because of his size. Little Critter seeks advice from the grownups in his life. His mother suggests eating more vegetables. Dad suggests more exercise. Little Critter even designs and builds a growing machine, but nothing sees to work. On a visit to Grandpa's farm, Little Critter discovers that being little has its advantages. On his return to school he challenges the big kids to a relay race with the little kids and learn that size is relative. The charming and humorous illustrations are a perfect accompaniment to a dilemma that kids will identify. A growth chart is included as an added attraction. 2004, HarperCollins Publishers, Ages 3 to 7.
Meredith Kiger, Ph.D.
PreS-Gr 1-When big kids start to bully Little Critter and make his life miserable, he decides that the only solution is to get taller. In an attempt to speed up the process, he crams down veggies, exercises to exhaustion, and finally builds himself a "growing machine" to sit in. When his height remains unchanged, he takes his troubles to his grandpa, who shows him that biggest isn't always best. In the disappointing ending, Little Critter challenges the big kids to a relay race that he and his smaller friends illogically win. Colorful cartoons depict the fuzzy brown protagonist along with all of the other animal characters. While fans of the series may not mind the pat ending, readers looking for tales with a little more panache should stick with Helen Lester's Hooway for Wodney Wat (Houghton, 1999), Alexis O'Neil's Recess Queen (Scholastic, 2002), or Pat Hutchins's classic, Titch (Turtleback, 1971).-Marge Loch-Wouters, Menasha's Public Library, WI Copyright 2004 Reed Business Information.