In the Small

Published By: Little, Brown Books for Young Readers

Book Category: Non-Fiction, Comics & Graphic Novels

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Reviewed by Julina K. Mills

When a mysterious blue light flashes across the globe, all humans suddenly find themselves a mere six inches tall. It is up to Mouse and Beat, a teenage brother and sister team, to save their family and their community. Separated at the time of the tragedy by being in different locations in their small town, the siblings struggle to gather survivors and find their way home. Distances that were once short walks now seem like miles and take days instead of minutes to cover. Small insects and alley rats are now giant-sized predators to the tiny humans.

Author Michael Hague is probably best known for his illustrations that add life and vivid imagery to best-selling children’s books such as The Wind in the Willows and The Hobbit. In the Small is a graphic novel filled with the rich imagery that Hague is known for. As a work of art, this is an amazing book that catches the reader’s eye and uses pictures to tell the story in greater detail than the narration does. As a novel, however, this thin paperback falls short.

Dialogue throughout In the Small leaves gaps in the action that is assumed to be taking place. The book is not divided into chapters, and pages jump from scenes in one part of town to another and from one character to the next so that it is difficult to follow the storyline. Although the pictures are well drawn and detailed, they show graphic images of death and violence which may not be appropriate to the teen audience it has been designed for.

My three teenagers refused to read the book, not only because of the images of death and horror, but also because of the frequent use of cursing by the characters. Offensive language can be found on many pages throughout the book, and in some instances the offending words are in a larger font which makes them stand out and become part of the artwork.

I would recommend this book to older teens or adults who enjoy experiencing a story through imagery.

Armchair Interviews says: Heed this reviewer’s reference to age-inappropriate violence and language.

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