Harvey is a small boy in a giant world. On stilts!
Shortlisted for Waterstones Children's Book Prize 2023, 'SMALL!' by debut author Hannah Moffatt is an absolute delight and made this reader feel seven-years-old again, in all the right ways! I adored it. It's bonkers, hilarious and unexpectedly heartwarming. Evocative of Roald Dahl (without the issues of censorship), 'SMALL!' is a smashingly HUGE achievement, deserving all the accolades it can get. I'm so thrilled Hannah Moffatt will be visiting our school in the coming weeks.
When Harvey accidentally sets fire to his headteacher's trousers, Mum decides it's time for a BIG change and packs him off to Madame Bogbrush's School for Gifted Giants.But Harvey's not a giant. He's a boy on stilts. And if his classmates find out, they'll stomp him into a sandwich!
'SMALL!' instantly grabs your attention and keeps you chuckling away with wide-eyed wonder until the very end. I love Harvey Small. He's so funny, observant and sensitive, and Hannah Moffatt brings his voice to life perfectly. It's all very silly but it just works so well. There's an undercurrent of menace throughout, especially as Harvey is no giant (he's a horrible 'Small') and lessons concern stomping and bashing Smalls! But running alongside this, are heartfelt moments, as Harvey learns to make friendships, despite obvious differences, and while he begins to accept himself. What makes 'SMALL!' so hugely brilliant is this constant swing between menace, humour and heart, which is why comparisons to Roald Dahl are so warranted. As a teacher, I also cracked up as Madame Bogbrush's School for Gifted Giants gets inspected. The reports and the repercussions are just so funny!
Rory Walker's illustrations are just perfect accompaniments too, capturing the eccentric spirit of Hannah Moffatt's writing. Also a worthy successor to Quentin Blake. So much to praise with this book!
Playful, menacing, hilarious, joyful, heartwarming, 'SMALL!' is a little book that will leave an enormous smile on your face. Perfect!