Sydney Smith is an incredibly talented illustrator, winning the Kate Greenaway Medal in 2018. His titles include Town is by the Sea, The White Cat and the Monk and acclaimed, Footpath Flowers. Hailing from my home province of Nova Scotia, I am delighted to read and review his latest masterpiece, Small in the City.
The book begins wordless and we see images from a bus journey, blurred and shapeless. Then we see the child in the bus window, looking nervous and small. “I know what it’s like to be small in the city.” – And here begins our understanding of the child.
Being small can be scary in a big city with all the loud noises, dark alleys and unfamiliar places. However, the child shows us some safe places and provides tips and advice for being safe and finding food.
It isn’t until late in the story that the realisation hits home….I had thought the child to be lost or homeless and it was incredibly moving to finally understand who the advice is meant for.
The story is shared in such a powerful journey that your heart is thumping throughout, both for the sadness in the child and the understanding of the ending. I am sure this will be an incredible story to share with children and many will relate to feeling small and scared, just as the child does.
A wonderful, heart rending story. Pore over the illustrations, enjoy the journey and let me know how you felt at the end…..loved it entirely!
The illustrations above are two of my favourite from the book. The first picture shows the beginning of the story where we begin to guess who, where and why! I adore the child’s reflections in the second one, proving what an incredible talent Sydney Smith has. It could be framed and admired.