The New Small Person

by Lauren Child (Author) Lauren Child (Illustrator)

The New Small Person
Reading Level: 2nd − 3rd Grade
Lauren Child tells the familiar tale of a less-than-welcome sibling with subtlety, insight, affection, and humor.

Elmore Green starts life as an only child, as many children do. He has a room to himself, where he can line up his precious things and nobody will move them one inch. But one day everything changes. When the new small person comes along, it seems that everybody might like it a bit more than they like Elmore Green. And when the small person knocks over Elmore's things and even licks his jelly-bean collection, Elmore's parents say that he can't be angry because the small person is only small. Elmore wants the small person to go back to wherever it came from. Then, one night, everything changes. . . . In her signature visual style, Lauren Child gets to the heart of a child's evolving emotions about becoming a big brother or sister.
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Publishers Weekly

Child (the Charlie and Lola books) tackles the new sibling problem with a story about Elmore Green, whose life is wonderful--"Elmore Green's parents thought he was simply the funniest, cleverest, most adorable person they had ever seen"--until his parents bring home someone new. As "it" enters toddlerhood (Elmore can't bear to confer personhood on his brother), he wants to be everywhere Elmore is, and eventually moves right into Elmore's room. "Now Elmore couldn't get away from it. It was always there, looking at him." The Greens are a family of color, and Child draws Elmore's parents as slim, well-dressed torsos and legs, while Elmore has an impressive array of superhero, cowboy, and animal costumes; his sense of order and security is underscored by ivory-colored backdrops lined with his toys, stuffed animals, and beloved orange jelly beans. The selling point is the way Child frames Elmore's growing love for his brother as the active, incremental discovery of the joy of companionship ("It was nice to have someone there in the dark when the scaries were around"), rather than treacly submission to the inevitable. Ages 4-8. (Feb.)

Copyright 2014 Publishers Weekly, LLC Used with permission.

School Library Journal

PreS-Gr 2—Elmore Green's life as an only child is sheer bliss. He has his own room, and no one ever changes the channel or messes with his toys. Of course, "Elmore Green's parents thought he was simply/the funniest, cleverest, most adorable/person they/had ever seen." All of that changes when his baby brother is born. Elmore goes from feeling displaced to angry to just wanting to be alone, until one night, everything changes. The characters are people of color and have the same expressive eyes, and Child's mixed-media images are done in the same signature style as in the "Charlie and Lola" series. The large font flows in curves on some pages and is choppy on others, working well with the illustrations to convey the older boy's feelings. The childlike perspective and simple illustrations will make this story a favorite for any kid who has ever been faced with a new sibling or has ha d to learn to share. Preschoolers will enjoy hearing this story, while independent readers will love the big print and colorful, cartoon illustrations. A worthwhile addition to any collection.—Jennifer Simmons, Anderson County Library, SC

Copyright 2015 School Library Journal, LLC Used with permission.

Review quotes

Child has a knack for homing in on the important truths of kid experiences in entertaining ways, demonstrated here in the dynamics between Elmore and Albert and in the precise and pithy phrasing of Elmore's observations. Elmore's experiences will certainly resonate with older siblings, while younger ones may gain a bit of insight into their older sibs' perspective.... Pair this Jenkins' That New Animal (BCCB 3/05) for a look at the ways in which younger siblings change everything.
—Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books (starred review)

A familiar theme—a big brother feels displaced by a new baby—seems fresh in Child's latest. ... It's a pleasing twist on typical stories about sibling rivalry, in that the little brother's actions change the dynamic rather than vice versa. Shared activities and playthings strengthen their bond, resulting in a happy ending for Elmore and Albert, whose name is finally revealed upon his big brother's change of heart. How nice to see a familiar story made new with a family of color and a little brother as hero.
—Kirkus Reviews (starred review)

Fresh and amusing.... With expressive illustrations and a story that speaks directly to children, this picture book is beautifully crafted for reading aloud.
—Booklist (starred review)

Child is as funny and astute as ever, and it's refreshing to see a black family depicted in her stylish mixed-media art.
—The New York Times

What firstborn doesn't revel in being thought of by his parents as "simply the funniest, cleverest, most ADORABLE person they had ever seen"? ... Child is no stranger to fraught sibling dynamics, and her trademark mixed-media collages—textured, fragmented, always with a kid's-eye view—sympathetically reflect the experiences of a no-longer-only child.
—The Horn Book

The selling point is the way Child frames Elmore's growing love for his brother as the active, incremental discovery of the joy of companionship ("It was nice to have someone there in the dark when the scaries were around"), rather than treacly submission to the inevitable.
—Publishers Weekly

The childlike perspective and simple illustrations will make this story a favorite for any kid who has ever been faced with a new sibling or has ha d to learn to share. Preschoolers will enjoy hearing this story, while independent readers will love the big print and colorful, cartoon illustrations.
—School Library Journal

The common frustration of having a perfectly nice childhood ruined by an interloper—in the form of a baby brother or sister—gets a stylish reinterpretation at the hands of writer and illustrator Lauren Child in "The New Small Person." ... Here, in an atmosphere of humor and tenderness, we naturally sympathize with Elmore Green.
—The Wall Street Journal

The New Small Person is a delightful tale of new sibling arrival and acceptance, another wonderful offering from the masterful Child.
—BookPage

The playful illustrations, clever text design and placement, and carefully paced plot all help to convey Albert's experience of embracing the expansion of his family.
—Literacy Daily

A fine story of sibling interactions and the move from only child to sibling invites young picture book readers to understand the presence of a younger child in the family.
—Children's Bookwatch
Lauren Child
Lauren Child is the author-illustrator of many children's books, including the Charlie and Lola books I Am Not Sleepy and I Will Not Go to Bed and I Will Never Not Ever Eat a Tomato, which won the prestigious Kate Greenaway Medal. She is also the creator of a quirky series of picture books about Clarice Bean: Clarice Bean, That's Me; Clarice Bean, Guess Who's Babysitting; and What Planet Are You From, Clarice Bean?, as well as the illustrated novel Utterly Me, Clarice Bean. She lives in London.
Classification
Fiction
ISBN-13
9780763699741
Lexile Measure
490
Guided Reading Level
L
Publisher
Candlewick Press (MA)
Publication date
September 20, 2018
Series
-
BISAC categories
JUV039050 - Juvenile Fiction | Social Themes | Emotions & Feelings
JUV013070 - Juvenile Fiction | Family | Siblings
JUV013040 - Juvenile Fiction | Family | New Baby
Library of Congress categories
Brothers and sisters
Babies
Infants
Parents Choice Awards (Spring) (2008-Up)
Gold Medal Winner 2015 - 2015
Kirkus Prize
Finalist 2015 - 2015
Charlotte Zolotow Award
Honor Book 2016 - 2016
Texas 2x2 Reading List
Recommended 2016 - 2016

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