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Small in the City



written and illustrated by
Sydney Smith

Edition
Hardcover edition
Publisher
Holiday House
Imprint
Holiday House
ISBN
9780823442614

Awards and Honors
NYT/NYPL Best Illustrated Children’s Books- 2019
2019 Governor General's Literary Award Winner
Kirkus Best Books - 2019
Publishers Weekly Best Books - 2019
SLJ Best Books - 2019
Horn Book Fanfare - 2019
NPR’s Book Concierge - 2019
Bulletin Blue Ribbons - 2019
Ezra Jack Keats Award Writer Winner 2019
2021 CILIP Kate Greenaway Medal Winner
POTENTIALLY SENSITIVE AREAS
None
$17.55
SEE MEMBER PRICE
QTY
Out of stock

JLG Category

City Elementary

When you're small in the city, people don't see you, and loud sounds can scare you, and knowing what to do is sometimes hard. But this little kid knows what it's like, and knows the neighborhood.  That makes for some pretty good advice for a small feline friend.

Like, alleys can be good shortcuts, but some are too dark.

Or, there are lots of good hiding places in the city, like under a mulberry bush or up a walnut tree.

And, if the city is too loud and scary, a small cat can always just go back home, where it's safe and quiet.

Full-color illustrations were created using ink, watercolor, and a bit of gouache.

POTENTIALLY SENSITIVE AREAS
None

Details

Format

Print

Page Count

40

Trim Size

7" x 11"

Dewey

E

AR

2.3: points 0.5

Lexile

AD520L

Genre

Fiction

Scholastic Reading Counts

1

JLG Release

Oct 2019

Book Genres


Topics

City and town life. Cats. Pets. Lost and found possessions.

Standard MARC Records

Download Standard MARC Records

Cover Art

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Praise & Reviews

Starred or favorable reviews have been received from these periodicals:

Publishers Weekly*, School Library Journal*, Bulletin of the Center for Children’s Books*, Booklist*, The Horn Book Magazine*, Kirkus Reviews*

School Library Journal

Wordless panels show someone’s silhouette looking out of a foggy window. The page turns and perspective shifts to show a child riding the bus dressed for winter. The child disembarks and the next few pages are presented like snapshots, with snippets of city life—buildings, lights, crowds, and sidewalks—painted with dark ink lines that underscore the narrator’s message about how overwhelming urban life can be. The child recommends avoiding a dark alley and a yard full of dogs, and points out some good hiding and climbing spots. Casual readers may be alarmed when the child recommends taking a nap beneath a snowy dryer vent, but there are clues about who the child is actually addressing. As the snow intensifies, the child trudges along putting up lost cat posters, seeming smaller and lonelier as the book progresses. The story culminates in a desolate scene where the child, alone in a gray blizzard, plaintively calls, “If you want, you could just come back,” followed by images of footsteps in the snow, a city skyline, and a woman waiting in the snow. They embrace, and readers know that the child is safe and loved. “But I know you.” The child comforts, “You will be all right.” The final page shows a line of fresh cat prints in the snow, reassuring readers that all is well. The use of line, reflection, and perspective masterfully evoke a bustling gray city, making this thoughtful book an artful choice for large collections.

Horn Book

In Smith’s (Sidewalk Flowers, rev. 5/15; Town Is by the Sea, rev. 3/17) debut as both illustrator and author, an intrepid child on the move in the big city speaks directly to an unknown someone. After two wordless spreads (with panel illustra¬tions featuring the child, in silhouette and profile, on a bus), the text begins. “I know what it’s like to be small in the city…If you want, I can give you some advice.” A series of spreads follows in which the child wanders through the daunt¬ing wintry city and beyond, dispensing advice and encouragement (“Alleys can be good shortcuts. But don’t go down this alley. It’s too dark”). With full-bleed spreads juxtaposed with ones featuring small vignettes, Smith expertly commu¬nicates the city’s chaos and bustle with line, color, and scale. Jagged, angular lines convey the danger of being small in a big place; dark grays and blacks reflect both the harsh winter and the child’s worry; and huge skyscrapers emphasize the child’s small size. The identity of the book’s “you” is revealed only gradually, through the progressively specific advice the child dispenses (“I know you like to listen to music…You could perch on the window ledge”) and, eventually, through a poster the child tapes to a streetlight with a picture of a lost cat. There are signs of hope at the end, with new warm tones in the art as the child arrives home and with a final illustration featuring nearby paw-prints in the snow. This emotionally resonant ode to the resilience of small creatures in a big, loud world is tender and timeless—and a masterful merging of art and text.

Praise & Reviews

School Library Journal

Wordless panels show someone’s silhouette looking out of a foggy window. The page turns and perspective shifts to show a child riding the bus dressed for winter. The child disembarks and the next few pages are presented like snapshots, with snippets of city life—buildings, lights, crowds, and sidewalks—painted with dark ink lines that underscore the narrator’s message about how overwhelming urban life can be. The child recommends avoiding a dark alley and a yard full of dogs, and points out some good hiding and climbing spots. Casual readers may be alarmed when the child recommends taking a nap beneath a snowy dryer vent, but there are clues about who the child is actually addressing. As the snow intensifies, the child trudges along putting up lost cat posters, seeming smaller and lonelier as the book progresses. The story culminates in a desolate scene where the child, alone in a gray blizzard, plaintively calls, “If you want, you could just come back,” followed by images of footsteps in the snow, a city skyline, and a woman waiting in the snow. They embrace, and readers know that the child is safe and loved. “But I know you.” The child comforts, “You will be all right.” The final page shows a line of fresh cat prints in the snow, reassuring readers that all is well. The use of line, reflection, and perspective masterfully evoke a bustling gray city, making this thoughtful book an artful choice for large collections.

Horn Book

In Smith’s (Sidewalk Flowers, rev. 5/15; Town Is by the Sea, rev. 3/17) debut as both illustrator and author, an intrepid child on the move in the big city speaks directly to an unknown someone. After two wordless spreads (with panel illustra¬tions featuring the child, in silhouette and profile, on a bus), the text begins. “I know what it’s like to be small in the city…If you want, I can give you some advice.” A series of spreads follows in which the child wanders through the daunt¬ing wintry city and beyond, dispensing advice and encouragement (“Alleys can be good shortcuts. But don’t go down this alley. It’s too dark”). With full-bleed spreads juxtaposed with ones featuring small vignettes, Smith expertly commu¬nicates the city’s chaos and bustle with line, color, and scale. Jagged, angular lines convey the danger of being small in a big place; dark grays and blacks reflect both the harsh winter and the child’s worry; and huge skyscrapers emphasize the child’s small size. The identity of the book’s “you” is revealed only gradually, through the progressively specific advice the child dispenses (“I know you like to listen to music…You could perch on the window ledge”) and, eventually, through a poster the child tapes to a streetlight with a picture of a lost cat. There are signs of hope at the end, with new warm tones in the art as the child arrives home and with a final illustration featuring nearby paw-prints in the snow. This emotionally resonant ode to the resilience of small creatures in a big, loud world is tender and timeless—and a masterful merging of art and text.

Grades 2-6
City Elementary
For Grades 2-6

Urban situations and plot lines featuring ethnically and culturally diverse characters give these books a unique city flavor and feel. Young urban readers will find familiar images, and readers who are not from the city will enjoy exploring life from a new perspective. The 12 books you'll receive in this category will ensure that urban adventures are available all year long.

12 books per Year
$210.60 per Year
Interests
Diversity,Fiction,Positive Messages
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Grades 2-6
City Elementary
12 books per Year
$210.60 per Year

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