Small by Hannah Moffatt is a story about a boy called Harvey Small who, on his tenth birthday, is given a pair of stilts and is enrolled into Madame Bogbrush’s School for Gifted Giants. Not only does Harvey have to convince everyone that he is giant but when an inspector from the Beastly School Board arrives, they realise that she is the least of their worries as there is something even more sinister brewing.
Harvey believes that he causes bad things to happen around him, including some unfortunate events at previous schools and the breakup of his parents’ marriage. With the pressure of starting another new school and trying to be something he is not, it comes as a real surprise when he encounters the endearing giant Walloping – someone who is genuinely pleased to meet him. Harvey begins to think that he will be happy being a giant after all and that if he flourishes it will bring his parents back together.
There were moments in this book where I laughed out loud and with a unique cast of characters it will really appeal to children. I had no idea how events would unfold and the unpredictability of the story made me even more eager to read on. I believe that there is more to come from the giants at Madame Bogbrush’s and so I was delighted when the ending revealed a glimpse of another story waiting patiently in the wings.
This would be a perfect book to read aloud to a class from Year 3 onwards. There is so much potential to bring the characters to life through the use of voice and children will thoroughly enjoy it. There is scope for discussions about self-belief and friendship – how not everything turns out the way you want it to but sometimes that is for the best.
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