PPBF: Hewitt Anderson’s Great Big Life

Author: Jerdine Nolen
Illustrator:
 Kadir Nelson
Publisher: 
S&S, 2005
Age: 
4-8
Themes: height, family, expectations
OpeningHewitt Anderson lived with his parents in an enormous house at the edge of town. His parents believed big things were best! The boasted a grand and impressive residence overlooking the valley below.

Summary: (from Amazon) Descended from a long line of giants, the J. Carver Worthington Andersons take their height very seriously indeed. You see, without exception all of the many J. Carver Worthington Andersons have been giants until now. And poor Hewitt—hidden in the floorboards, trapped in the flour vat, lost in the bedsheets—has his struggles being tiny. Oh, his parents worry: How will their son manage to live in a world of big things? Leave it to Hewitt to prove the power of being small.

I like this book because: I really love the premise of a child meeting his families expectations in unexpected ways and how size and shape are not always a predictor of our success! The beautiful illustrations (from the current recipient of the Caldecott Medal!) allow us to feel what Hewitt felt being so…normal! Jerdine

Nolen’s writing makes for a thrilling and heartwarming read-aloud!

Resources/activities: make a list of things you can do “better” because of your height or size or skills; compare them with other skills from family members and friends, then ask, do my abilities depend on my size or shape and how these abilities compliment or complete our needs? How can problem solving help where size and shape do not? Do you recognize the references in this story to a familiar folk tale?

For more Perfect Picture Book Friday picks with teacher/parent resources, check out the list on Susanna Hill’s blog  HERE.