Published June 7th 2016 by Dial Books
Format read: Finished copy via publisher
What do you do when you're so tiny that the bigger ocean creatures think you might even taste adorable?
An itsy-bitsy, glasses-wearing fish is minding his own business when a playful (and hungry) octopus snatches him right up. Luckily, this poor little guy is not quite as innocent as he seems…and he has a BIG surprise up his sleeve!
Told with wit, a wink, and a delightfully dark sense of humor, Poor Little Guy celebrates the very smallest...and all of their giant victories. Hand this cute but mighty book to fans of Bob Shea and Dan Krall.
However, I was absolutely delighted when I realized that Elanna Allen's book was not only beautifully imagined, it also features a timely message on bullying and standing up for yourself against the odds.
Our glasses-wearing protagonist is a small fish who suddenly becomes the focus of attention by a playful, bordering on obnoxious octopus. Though the octopus seems to overwhelm the little fish both with behavior and intention, the little fish quickly proves that size doesn't always matter...
What's great about this book, is Allen's innate recognition that sometimes the world's odds may very likely seem stacked against us. However, we can always use our wits, creativity and strength to win out in challenging situations.
Though the various scenarios that the octopus put the little fish through are amusing and will likely make younger readers laugh, they're also delivered with an intelligent eyes that acknowledges the playful, bordering on bullying behavior that many a bully will put their victims through. It's hard to get the tone of something like this right, but Allen is pitch-perfect as she shows how both bully and victim can see a situation differently.
Outside of the overall content, the art is beautifully done, and will keep readers flipping from beginning to end.
Bottom line: Elanna Allen's colorful, amusing book, is also a timely reminder on learning how to stand up to bullies and assert your own strength. This is a book that will both delight for its increasingly amusing scenarios, but will also leave readers feeling brave and ready to cleverly take on the world. Highly recommend, full stop.
About the author:
Elanna Allen graduated from Brown University and studied animation and illustration at the Rhode Island School of Design. She has designed characters and directed animation for Disney Junior, Nick Jr, and PBS. She lives in New York City with her husband and two boys, and is currently learning to play the ukulele.