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Starred Review: Teeny Tiny Toady


When her mom and all her brothers are trapped in a bucket, it's time for Teeny Tiny Toady to screw her courage to the sticking place and hop to the rescue. As big of eyes, personality, and emotion as she is tiny and pink of body in Yamaguchi's swampy ground-level scenes, Teeny is "toadally" terrific. Shoved to the rear by her seven hulking brothers after bursting through the door with the news of their mother's plight, Teeny hops behind, "wishing she could be a bigger, stronger, / hero kind of toad." Then, when her comically dim-bulb brothers not only fail to tip the bucket over, but manage (after ignoring or co-opting several of her savvy suggestions) to fall in themselves, it's left up to her: " ‘I'm too little,' Teeny blubbered. ‘I can't do it! Not alone!' / But she had to, had to, had to. / Tiny Teeny, / on her own." One unlikely but successful stratagem later, everyone is free, jubilant, and praising their diminutive rescuer. " ‘You're a hero!' / ‘What a kid!' / ‘Wanna ride home on my shoulders, Sis?' " No surprise—"She absolutely did!" Yamaguchi's illustrations are every bit as adorable as Teeny, her wee pink form hilarious when juxtaposed with her brothers', who resemble warty tennis balls with limbs. A triumphant reaffirmation of the truth that large hearts can beat in small chests, told in playful verse that gallops along with nary a stumble. (Picture book. 6-8)

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