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The Picture Book Buzz

Board Book Treasures - Big and Small, Room for All

STEM for Preschool? More and more books are created for the preschool children that address science and STEM. I stumbled upon a beautifully illustrated book that demonstrates the concept of size and our existence in the universe.

Big and Small, Room for All

Author: Jo Ellen Bogart

Illustrator: Gillian Newland

Publisher: Tundra Books; Brdbk edition (July 18, 2017)

Ages: Preschool and up



The concept of size, the universe, and our place in the cosmos.


For the first time in board book format, this concept book by award-winning author Jo Ellen Bogart explores the size of animate and inanimate objects and their places in the universe. She introduces children to the concept of "we" -- that humans are a big part of the world, but a small part of all of existence. In the vastness of the universe, with galaxies swirling through space, the book begins with simple words printed on the darkness. Moving closer to our world, we see the solar system, our sun at the center. Closer still, we see the huge ball of fire, the sun, and the third planet out from it -- our blue Earth. From Earth looming huge on the page, young readers view smaller and smaller things, from mountain to tree to man to child to kitten to mouse to flea to microscopic beings, amazing in their complexity.

Accompanied by artist Gillian Newland’s lavish watercolor paintings, Big and Small, Room for All places the immensity and wonder of space in perspective so young readers comprehend they are part of creation, but a small part of all that exists.

Opening Lines;

Big and small,

Big and small

Room for all,

Big and small.

Big sky,

Small sun

Big Sun

Small Earth.

Why I Like this book:

The succinct manner in which Jo Ellen and Gillian present this concept of comparing the size of items and shrinking from the universe (or "big sky") down to protozoa (or "a world of things too small to see") and back to the vastness and beauty of the universe is magical.

The soft watercolor pictures alone will tantalize the young readers and delight their adults.

A Dad walking with his child,

Text © Jo Ellen Bogart, 2009; images © Gillian Newland, 2009.

becomes a child playing with a smaller kitten,

Text © Jo Ellen Bogart, 2009; images © Gillian Newland, 2009.

which becomes a kitten "playing" with a mouse.

Text © Jo Ellen Bogart, 2009; images © Gillian Newland, 2009.

It is absolutely brilliant, in its complexity and simplicity. Everything (but the universe) is both big and small. A great starting point for discussing all the many things around the house and outside that are big and small. The sparse text and easy rhyme will make it fun for emerging readers as well.


- check out these preschool Big and small activities (;

- locate other things that are both big and small, depending on what they are compared to. (such as a worm-snake-garden hose).

Maria Marshall

 Photograph © A. Marshall

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