MG Takes on Thursday

This is my weekly meme celebrating amazing middle-grade books, now with a re-vamped banner!

How to take part:

  • Post a picture of the front cover of a middle-grade book which you have read and would recommend to others with details of the author, illustrator and publisher.
  • Open the book to page 11 and share your favourite sentence. 
  • Write three words to describe the book.
  • Either share why you would recommend this book, or link to your review.

This week, I’m celebrating …

Written by Hannah Moffatt
Illustrated by Rory Walker
Published by Everything with Words

Favourite Sentence from Page 11:

When Mr Ogg said he didn’t like Smalls, he meant he didn’t like humans.

This book in three words:


Small! is BIG on hilarity, heart and hope – with a good dollop of yuckiness, smelliness and zaniness.  A tasty treat of an adventure which delighted me, grossed me out ever so slightly and left me with a giant grin! 

On his tenth birthday, Harvey Small gets an odd collection of presents:  a pair of stilts, too-long dungarees and a too-big top hat!  Could this be connected to his recent move to live near a swamp and his GIANT visitor?  Well, that’s a definite ‘yes’ as Harvey finds that his Mum has enrolled him in Madame Bogbrush’s School for Gifted Giants as a boarder.  Will he be able to maintain his disguise and prove himself a gifted giant?  Let’s hope so as, if he’s rumbled, he’s in real danger of being stomped into a sandwich as giants do not like Smalls (a.k.a humans). 

Harvey has had to move schools a lot since his mum and dad split up, something for which he blames himself, making it hard for him to find friends.  Imagine his delight when, for the first time at a new school, he is welcomed by a student who is excited to meet him.  Could he possibly have found a friend in Walloping Toenail?  Of course, there is the small matter that his classmates enjoy Small-bashing – with clubs! 

Just as Harvey is settling in, making a friend, and getting used to a timetable of stomping, clobbering and grunting, not to mention a rather unique menu, their Headteacher, Mrs Mahoosive, brings news to make him quake in his stomping boots.  The Beastly School Board is sending an inspector … is Harvey in danger of having his disguise uncovered?  And, what if he is not the only gifted giant in danger?  Will he be able to save himself and a classmate?

Oh my goodness!  This was such a brilliant read with oodles of giggles, a mystery to solve, a sense of danger, and unexpected twists and revelations.   I can just imagine how much joy children will get from reading this independently or having it read aloud.  There is a real sense of playfulness from the names, the school activities and food, the many opportunities for mishaps and mayhem not to mention olfactory overload and the swamp goblins!  Alongside this, there is a real depth and warmth in the building of friendships, support and trust.

I loved the inclusion of the Timetables, the School Inspectors Reports, the capitalisation and bold text.  I also adored the gorgeous illustrations sprinkled throughout the text which are guaranteed to bring a smile, and complement the story perfectly.  All of these elements make this a really accessible read.

But even the scariest things aren’t quite as scary with a best friend by your side.

Harvey Small is an incredibly sympathetic young boy.  He feels a failure:  failing at school, failing at friendship, and failing at keeping his parents together.  He gets his first taste of real friendship when he meets the endearing, kind-hearted, curious Walloping Toenail and the two form a wonderful bond.  This bond makes Harvey feel like a giant, giving him the strength, courage and self-belief to face danger, and reveal truths – and blue underpants!

Small! fizzes with warmth, humour and acceptance – guaranteed to be a GIANT hit with young readers of 8+.

Thank you to Mikka at Everything with Words for providing me with a proof copy in exchange for my honest opinion.

I’d love if anyone who wants to give this meme a go would comment in the comments box and include a link to your post so I can visit, comment and find some great middle-grade recommendations. If you do create a post and are on Twitter, and would like to share your post, please use the hashtag  #MGTakesOnThursday so I can find it, read it and share it!

2 thoughts on “MG Takes on Thursday

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