This is a marvelous, mellow book that's a wonderful read with. (But see the important note below.)
Our five year old grandson is sprouting up. He can hit the automatic door buttons, most of the elevator buttons, (buildings aren't that tall here), turn the key in the P.O. box, and get his hands under the kitchen sink faucet to wash off the stray cinnamon sugar. Three year old bro has to work a little harder, but he's good on chairs and hanging his coat in the cubby.
This is a fun book that validates the big boy and encourages the little guy. They enjoy seeing that the things that frustrate and reward them are common and universal, and they see themselves and their progress in the book. What a nice interaction.
The drawings are comfortable and cheery. The style is realistic in a button nose way with just enough pastel softness around the edges to make the story very inviting and friendly.
There is no message, as such. This isn't a potty training book or a how-to book. (Unlike the earlier versions, it doesn't mention things like bed wetting or other "problems".) It's a calm bit of four year old slice-of-life. Very nice.
THE IMPORTANT NOTE. As of the date of this review the Amazon book description and sample on this site, which is the only site that comes up when you search for "Big or Little", is for the 2009 edition. The 2014 "Big or Little" I'm reviewing has a revised, shorter text and new, different illustrations by Jennifer A. Bell. This new "Big or Little" has no Toby or big brother. It is short, (24 pages), and captures about a dozen events involving a little girl. This Amazon site currently describes the 2009 revision of the 1983 original. I imagine a new site for the new version will be along soon. All three are good books, but they are different and so you need to exercise care to get the version you want, and care in reading reviews because Amazon sometimes lumps different version reviews all together.
Please note that I received a free advance ecopy of this book in exchange for a candid review. Apart from that I have no connection at all to either the author or the publisher of this book.