Friday, November 02, 2018

Reader's Diary #1945- Mel Tregonning: Small Things

Mel Tregonning's Small Things is a wordless picture book that tells a story of an anxious young boy using elements of comics.

Using soft but detailed gray-scale pencils, the art reminded me of Chris Van Allsburg's black and white work, but the star of the book, the nameless boy shown on the cover, has large expressive eyes that also showcases his youth and would endear him to most readers (this is my way of saying he's adorable). He goes about his day just trying to fit it, to be accepted, to feel valued, time and time again being rejected by his peers, getting poor grades, and tripping over himself. At least he has an older sister who tries to help. While it doesn't have a fairy-tale happy ending, it does at least end on a hopeful note and sends the message to those with similar experiences that at least they're not alone.

Upping the ante is an intriguing artistic choice to show little pieces breaking off and cracks appearing whenever the boy doubts himself. These pieces then take on little demonic sprites that surround him and live in his shadow unbeknownst to anyone else.

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