My Little Small

My Little Small


Written by Ulf Stark
Illustrated by Linda Bondestam
Translated from Swedish by Annie Prime

She tries every night to reach the moon, dreaming of friendship. But one morning, a sun spark comes flying into her cave! What wondrous things she has to say about the vibrancy of life under the sun. Their time together is limited, but the Spark is curious and the Creature realizes she has some stories of her own to share.

ISBN: 978-1-59270-209-1
9.9" (W) x 7.4" (H) • 52 pages • HCJ

Grade Level: 4
Interest Level: 1-5
Lexile Level: 540
Guided Reading Level: Q

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"Generously open to young readers' interpretations, this Swedish import lingers." —Kirkus Reviews

"Right away, you know this is no ordinary children’s book—introducing weakness, sickness and death on the first page. And yet the Creature peeking out to check for the setting sun is anything but macabre, even with her sharp teeth. She has this wide-eyed innocence and curiosity that springs to light in Bondestam’s energetic grays." ―Joy Murray,

“A dramatic yet whimsical story of a short-lived but all-encompassing and tender relationship between two unlikely entities…” —Charles Sutton, Vermont Country Sampler

"...a touching philosophical story." —Outside in World

"Young readers may see this as a simple story of friendship. On a deeper level, this existential story is a rumination on savoring the moment, making connections, and reaching beyond borders. Even though the Spark only lives for one day, the Creature reaches out to make friends. Both of them seize the moment and live it fully. When it is time to send the Spark off to return to the sun, the Creature does not hesitate. Young readers are left with the sense that the Creature has grown from this experience, is happier and more satisfied. Perhaps the ultimate message is that caring for others is what brings our lives satisfaction and meaning." —Mary Ann Scheuer, Words Without Borders

"A unique and charming picture book story for children ages 4 to 8, My Little Small is the collaborative work of the late Ulf Stark (who was a much-loved, award-winning Swedish poet, screenwriter, and the author of some 100 books for children and young adults), and Helsinki illustrator Linda Bondestam, and is deftly translated into English for an American readership by Annie Prime. Simply stated, My Little Small is wholeheartedly and unreservedly recommended for family, daycare center, preschool, elementary school, and community library picture book collections for children." ―The Midwest Book Review

One of the most powerful picture books … with a message so many will crave. […] A satiating story of being truly seen as you are and finding a way to share your love. A powerful and timeless fairy tale that we will all benefit from cherishing.” —Jesica Sweedler DeHart, The Wandering Bookseller

"This tale has a tenderness about it, in large part thanks to Stark’s deft writing and Prime’s thoughtful translation; so vividly does the Creature’s personality gel on the page, and how beautifully both author and translator can turn a phrase. We know of the Creature’s loneliness: She has to self-soothe (sucks her thumb and sings ‘GRRRR’ to herself to calm herself down) to even get to sleep in her dark cave, just before dreaming about a friend to care for. We know of her vulnerability, which is expressed through bouts of rage, especially when she turns on herself for crying when she feels alone. (‘There, there,’ she tells herself.) We know she has subtlety in her soul, as she stares at the sunset and thinks, ‘How beautiful it is!’ We know she’s not too defeated to try: One night, she floats to the moon’s reflection on the water and tries to embrace it, not understanding it would shatter into ‘a thousand gleams.’ The frogs laugh at her as she mourns this. And we know, despite her defeats, she refuses to give up hope, even giving herself pep talks. (‘Don’t be sad. You are big, and everything will be better tomorrow.’) [...] I don’t have a crystal ball, but I think I can safely say this picture book is unlike any other we’ll see this year. A poignant and memorable tale of friendship-found, don’t miss it."―Julie Danielson, Kirkus Reviews


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