By: Kathy Peach
Illustrated by: Alex Lopez
Publisher: Little Five Star
Publication Date: January 2016
Reviewed by: Holly Connors
Review Date: November 3, 2015
A small tumbleweed and a small sparrow – are they too small? In The Tiniest Tumbleweed young readers will watch as these two little creatures grow and learn that they are the right size to do what they need to do – in other words, they are perfect.
The story opens with Mother Tumbleweed announcing “She’s here,” to Father Tumbleweed. Upon inspection, Father notes that the new arrival is quite small. But mother knows best and she assures her husband that their baby will grow just fine. Not far away, a baby sparrow pops out of his egg. His father notes that the new arrival is rather small. Again, the mother knows best and she insists, “He will grow.”
The Tiniest Tumbleweed follows these two babies as they mature. And they do grow, just not as much as their siblings. Would the little tumbleweed ever be able to grow big and strong and make seeds like other tumbleweeds? And what about the sparrow? How would he ever grow big enough to fly and spread seeds like his brothers and sisters?
Author Kathy Peach has found a delightful way to teach youngsters about coping with physical limitations and how everyone, no matter their limitations, can be useful to others. Tumbleweed and Sparrow are not as big as their siblings and by the middle of the story, it’s apparent that they never will be. How does one deal with being different? With having limitations that keep you from doing what you want to do? Eventually Tumbleweed and Sparrow come together and learn that they are a ‘perfect fit’ for each other. Young readers will see that while they may not fit the ‘norm,’ (whatever that may be), there is always a reason and purpose – you just have to find it.
The author drives her point home by having the text go back and forth between the two characters’ lives, showing how they were both dealing with being ‘different.’ First the tumbleweed, then the sparrow, back and forth. In many places, the text centering on the sparrow closely mirrored that of the tumbleweed, driving home the point that they were both dealing with being smaller. As with all Five Star publications, there are several pages of additional information in the back of the book. These include ‘Fun Facts’ (and even adults will likely learn a few things about tumbleweeds!) and a curriculum guide.
Quill says: An adorable, and informative, story about two youngsters who learn to work within their physical limitations to be the best they can – and help others along the way.