Big and Little Are Best Friends
Michael Garland, Author and Illustrator
Orchard Books, Fiction, May 9, 2017
Suitable for Ages: 3-5
Themes: Animals, Elephants, Mice, Best Friends, Differences, Acceptance, Rhyme
Opening: Big and Little / Are best of friends. / Though the things / that they like / Are at opposite ends.
Synopsis: Big is an elephant and Little is a mouse. They are opposites in every possible way. One likes loud music, the other prefers soft. One loves hot weather, the other loves cold. One is shy and the other is bold. One wears plain, the other wears frilly. They are as different as night and day. Sometimes they fight, but they always make put their friendship first.
Why I like this book:
Michael Garland has written a timely and heartwarming story for children that celebrates tolerance. Elephant and a mouse are very different in surprising ways, but they learn to compromise and accept each other. They learn that they don’t need to change who they are in order to become best friends. Elephant and mouse discover that their differences can lead to a lot of fun when they are together. The story also breaks down some preconceived stereotypes.
Garland’s simple rhyming text includes fun synonyms and antonyms and is perfect for beginning readers. Garland’s signature double page-spreads feature lively, humorous and colorful illustrations that will appeal to children’s imaginations.
Resources: Use Garland’s concept book to teach children about opposites, like “big and little.” Ask children their favorite color, food, toy, sport, book, movie and so on. Compare the similarities and differences with siblings or classmates. Apply the idea to friendship. Would they still be friends if one liked cake and the other preferred pie? Depending upon the age of the child, you may want to include bigger topics that include diversity.
Michael Garland has 35 books in print. Four of Garland’s books are New York Times Bestsellers, and Miss Smith’s Incredible Storybook won State Reading Awards in Delaware, California and Texas. He lives in Patterson, NY. You can visit Garland at his website.