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Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Too Tall Alice - Barbara Worton

Four inches can seem like four miles to an eight-year-old.

So is the case for Alice, who's had a little bit of a growth spurt and is now four inches taller than her classmates at Cherry Tree School. Like many of a similar age, Alice wishes only to fit in with her buddies and not be able to get a good look of the top of their heads. Her Mom and doctor say she's healthy and fine, but Alice doesn't feel that great. Things are made worse when, while in her bedroom, Alice overhears conversation between her neighbors and parents, who speak of their daughter's vertical advantage. When Alice falls asleep at last, she dreams of a place where only tall girls reside, girls with futures in basketball, modeling and the circus. Will Alice ever feel comfortable with her height?

Worton's writing is very fluid and light, but Alice's unsure sentiments are evident and strong. Its message of self-esteem even in times of difference or awkwardness is pure and influential, surely to help kids (and maybe even a few adults!) with issues of self-image. To be noted also is illustrator Dom Rodi's whimsical sketches and images accompanying the book, mixing various elements to create a crowded, yet thought-provoking tale.

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