I Like To Be Little
Written by Charlotte Zolotow
Illustrated by Erik Blegvad
Published 1990 by HarperCollins

When talking about classic picture books one of my top recommendations is I Like to be Little. There are many amazing new and classic books for kids that when one sticks with you, it’s due to a beautiful combination of personal experience and perfect book. And this one is perfect to me.

I Like to be Little is a back and forth conversation between a mother and daughter about the wonderful joys of being young. One of the sections that epitomizes the whole story is:

“Grown-ups can’t sit under the table.”
“True,” said the mother, “but grown-ups don’t want to.”
“I want to,” said the little girl, “that’s why I like being little.”

Every interaction overflows with the way children see the world, especially in the “small” joys that grown-ups seem to pass over. And the ending is meaningful in a way that gives full respect to the depth of children’s insightfulness.

Some Charlotte Zolotow books have received new artwork over the years, and that is true for this one as well. This 1990 version is adapted from the original published in 1966 and has fresh pictures to go with it. The softness of the watercolors highlights the emotions and thoughtfulness of the writing but does not take away the vibrance of the art. They are incredibly dynamic. You can almost see the rain moving in drips down the window or hear the satisfying crunch of feet landing in a leaf pile.

Because of the intergenerational interplay between parent and child, this is a book that can grow with the reader and still feel applicable to their age and stage.

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