August 08, 2013

Tweezle into Everything

by Stephanie McLellan
Illustrated by Dean Griffiths
Pajama Press
978-1-927485-47-7
32 pp.
Ages 3-7
August 2013
On-sale August 1, 2013

Little Tweezle, baby brother from Hoogie in the Middle (Pajama Press, 2013), reviewed here on April 24, 2013, has his own issues with birth order, that being his relegation to baby of his monster family–too small and too young to do much of anything.  As much as his parents adore him, he doesn't want to be a baby boy anymore–he wants to be a big boy!  In fact, when he gets into the garden shed, the dish water and his sisters' things, his refrain is, "I big."  His family is not pleased by the messes he leaves behind, including holes in the yard, muddy footprints and taking things that don't belong to him, but his surprise intent and achievement have everyone applauding Tweezle for his big ideas, beyond anything they could have imagined for this little one.

The trick of putting a great picture book together is telling a story that has fluency with powerful but concise text and illustrations that complement the text. Tweezle into Everything has everything that makes a picture book right.  Stephanie McLellan has found the right words for the common dilemma of the youngest child in a family, surprising readers with an unexpected plot twist to Tweezle's story, and Dean Griffiths has again brought the less-than-scary monsters to life.  If you're reading this to your children, make sure to have them carefully note the details in the illustrations because Dean Griffiths does not fill space; every detail enhances the story and even hints at what Tweezle is up to.  If you're anything like me, you'll be delighted by the turnabout in the story, and close the cover with a smile on your face, for Tweezle and others (I can't give it away), and for Stephanie McLellan and Dean Griffiths who've proven that big stories can come in few pages.

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