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*Little Nelly's Big Book* by Pippa Goodhart, illustrated by Andy Rowland
Little Nelly's Big Book
by Pippa Goodhart, illustrated by Andy Rowland
Ages 4+ 32 pages Bloomsbury USA July 2012 Hardcover    

Have you ever wondered why the pictures in picture books are important? Little Nelly's Big Book reveals the secret to young readers!

Little Nelly is a tiny elephant who is reading Big Book of Knowledge. It is a very informative book, but it has no pictures. When she reads the page about mice, she discovers that a mouse can be gray with big ears and a skinny tail. The description fits her exactly! After all, Little Nelly—an elephant—is gray with big ears and a skinny tail!

Nelly grows tired, so she looks for a place to sleep. The book tells her that mice have homes in holes in the wall. She finds a mouse family behind the wall. Mickey, one of the mice, tells her that she is a very big mouse. He even thinks she may not be a mouse, but Little Nelly shows him her book. Granny Mouse calms her fears by telling her not to worry about what Mickey says because she is welcome in the mouse house.

Soon Little Nelly is becoming part of the mouse family. In fact, Granny Mouse discovers on the computer that there are many other “mice” like Nelly at the zoo nearby. Nelly is thrilled to discover that the “mice” at the zoo live in the elephant section.

Meanwhile, Mickey reads the Big Book of Knowledge and finds out that he is not a mouse at all. He is an elephant because he is gray with big ears and a skinny tail! Little Nelly assures Mickey that even though he isn’t a mouse like her, she will still be his friend. The book ends with the wise words, “Which just goes to show why books should always have pictures.”

This book will become a favorite bedtime read-aloud for parents and grandparents. The story about a book providing information which is misinterpreted will inspire lots of conversation and interaction between the text, the reader and the listener. What role do pictures play in a book? Why are they important? How do we get information from a book? How can information be misinterpreted? What can we do to get correct information?

The illustrations in this picture book provide lots of wonderful information for readers. The juxtaposition of Little Nelly with her mice “relatives” is priceless. The elephant may be small, but she is very large in comparison with the mice. When she finds the mouse house, she breaks down the wall. The mice make Little Nelly part of their family even though it is very hard work to feed an elephant and to provide her with a bed in their tiny mouse house.

The images in this picture book remind us that your outward appearance is not really important. What is really important in life is who you are and how you relate to the people who love you.

Pippa Goodhart's interest in children's books was originally sparked by a Saturday job at Heffers in Cambridge, England, where she went to school. Since then, Pippa has been a teacher and manager of a children’s bookstore. She has been writing since 1993 and was shortlisted for the Young Telegraph Award for Ginny’s Egg in 1995. In Little Nelly's Big Book, Goodhart writes a delightfully amusing story about mixed messages and taking what you read in books just a little too literally.

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  Myra Junyk/2012 for curled up with a good kid's book  

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