Small In the City by Sydney Smith

Published by Neal Porter Books

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Image result for small in the city sydney smith

Summary:  The first four pages are wordless illustrations, showing a child riding on a train, then pulling the string for a stop.  Emerging, the child declares, “I know what it’s like to be small in the city.” For a few pages, the narrator describes that experience–it’s loud, people don’t see you, it can be hard to know the right thing to do.  Then, “But I know you. You’ll be all right. If you want, I can give you some advice.” It sounds like the subject in question is homeless, as the advice is all about avoiding dark alleyways and resting under a warm dryer vent.  But then, “In the park I have a favorite bench. Sometimes my friend is there….You could sit on her lap and she will pet you.” The child posts a sign for a lost cat, and it all becomes clear. There’s a warm hug from Mom waiting at home, and the final page shows cat prints in the snow, opening up the possibility that the cat has returned.  40 pages; ages 4-8.

Pros:  Wow, this book really packs a punch with some pretty spare text.  I like that the ending is ambiguous but with a hint of optimism. The illustrations are perfect, with the blurry snowscapes that could be the result of teary eyes.

Cons:  This seemed a bit dark for several pages, which could worry some listeners.

If you would like to buy this book on Amazon, click here.

2 thoughts on “Small In the City by Sydney Smith

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