Small Things
Small Things
Perma-Bound from Publisher's Hardcover19.59
Perma-Bound Edition19.59
Publisher's Hardcover16.96
Publisher's Hardcover18.66
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Annotation: An empowering wordless graphic picture book that gets to the heart of a young boy's anxiety and opens the way for dialogue about acceptance, vulnerability, and the universal experience of worry.
Catalog Number: #160415
Format: Publisher's Hardcover
Special Formats: Graphic Novel Graphic Novel
Publisher: Pajama Press
Copyright Date: 2018
Edition Date: 2018
Pages: 40
Availability: Available
ISBN: 1-7727-8042-1
ISBN 13: 978-1-7727-8042-0
Dewey: E
Dimensions: 31 cm.
Language: English
Horn Book
In this wordless story told through paneled graphite art, a boy's anxiety manifests itself as a swarm of little black demons. He starts to feel that part of him is being eroded and notices a chunk missing from his arm. Before book's end, when the boy makes an overture of friendship, the story may strike readers as almost unbearably sad, but they may also find it revelatory.
Kirkus Reviews
A young child deals with isolation and the escalation of worry in Tregonning's posthumous wordless picture book.Anxiety is more than a feeling in this visual narrative, more than the pressure of school tests, the loneliness of exclusion by classmates, or the fear of such shortcomings being discovered at home. Anxiety, represented here by ominously sharp swirls of black ink, has a visceral, visual gravitas—it grows to fill literal and figurative space as the young protagonist's outlook progresses steadily downhill. Shouldering worry and shame while trying to hide both unsurprisingly takes its toll, and employing a touch of body horror, the barbs of worry that plague the protagonist begin actually to tear away at arms, legs, back, and head until the cracks can no longer be hidden. The poignant effects of an entirely black-and-white palette and masterful shifts in perspective are muddled by a dizzying layout of (sometimes-excessive) individual panels. Younger readers or those with low contrast sensitivity may find it difficult to keep pace. Nonetheless, the refreshing visibility and validity of childhood pressures accompanied by the equally important realization that no one is alone in their experience of such strain balances the slight risk that readers might lose track of the narrative. The tousle-headed protagonist is depicted with pale skin and attends a fairly diverse school.A picture book that wants to be a graphic novel, and a message worthy of both. (Picture book. 4-7)
Publishers Weekly
The late Australian artist Tregonning-s wordless graphic tale, completed posthumously with help from Shaun Tan, captures the way anxiety can ravage children-s lives. Dark, dense pencil drawings show a boy whose doll-like head and huge eyes make his sadness and puzzlement easy to perceive. In the opening sequence of panels, he struggles to approach a group of his peers and is met with rejection. His school performance falters (readers see worksheets marked with Xs), and tiny, swirling creatures plague him, eating away at him until his body begins to crumble like a statue. The boy-s parents do not see his pain, but things change when his sister approaches him quietly and shares her own struggle-she has those crumbled bits, too. Now the boy begins to see that the little creatures swarm around more of his peers than he had thought, and he reaches out to one of them. Tregonning creates a visual language for the pain of depression and anxiety, and her story may provide a measure of hope to those who might otherwise have given up in despair. Ages 8-12. (Mar.)

Starred Review ALA Booklist
*Starred Review* In this wordless picture book graphic novel mash-up, originally published in Australia, artist Tregonning introduces an unnamed boy grappling with corrosive anxiety. His demons appear on the basketball court, in the classroom, even at home d they aren't merely metaphorical. A torrent of jagged black swirls accompanies each of the boy's alienating encounters and discouraging test scores. And though they start small, the creaturelike curls quickly grow, trailing and surrounding the boy at every turn. Before long, his skin begins to chip away like cracked porcelain. But the boy is not alone; in fact, he soon finds almost everyone has demons of their own. With "artwork direction and assistance" from the renowned Shaun Tan, this posthumous release llowing Tregonning's death in 2014 folds in a series of masterful, soft graphite illustrations. Much like the boy's ever-transforming anxieties, panels shift from slender, compressed squares to sweeping double-page spreads. The otherworldly glow of the black-and-white palette, too, elegantly underscores the boy's ongoing battle against darkness. More than a moving portrayal of one boy's struggle, this is also a magnifying lens through which to identify and discuss mental illness with readers of all ages. Don't let its title or page count fool you, Small Things' effects are monumental.
Reviewing Agencies: - Find Other Reviewed Titles
Starred Review ALA Booklist (4/1/18)
Horn Book (8/1/18)
Kirkus Reviews
Publishers Weekly
Wilson's Children's Catalog
Reading Level: 3.0
Interest Level: 3-6
Lexile: NP

Three starred reviews called Small Things "monumental" ( Booklist ), "superb" ( School Library Journal ) and "intense" ( Foreword Reviews ). In this short, wordless graphic picture book, a young boy feels alone with his anxiety. He isn't fitting in well at school. His grades are slipping. He's even lashing out at those who love him. Talented Australian artist Mel Tregonning created Small Things in the final year of her life. In her emotionally rich illustrations, the boy's worries manifest as tiny beings that crowd around him constantly, overwhelming him and even gnawing away at his very self. The striking imagery is all the more powerful when, overcoming his isolation at last, the boy discovers that the tiny demons of worry surround everyone, even those who seem to have it all together. This short but hard-hitting wordless graphic picture book gets to the heart of childhood anxiety and opens the way for dialogue about acceptance, vulnerability, and the universal experience of worry.

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