Review published on May 9, 2018.
Oh my goodness, Little Big Man is the most wonderful book. It made me smile, it made me cry and it made me want to hug Zac. He’s the 10-year-old boy who’s looking for his dad, the one that left before he was even born… didn’t he? The truth is there’s an awful lot more to it than that. His mum, Juliet, knows a lot more about his dad and he’s determined to get more facts so that he can try and find him.
Along with his feisty, tiny friend, Teagan, he sets out on the “FDM” (Find Dad Mission). These two kids were just the most fantastic creations. They balanced each other out perfectly and I actually felt proud of them, even though they’re not real and I’m only the reader. This is a book that got to the very heart of me and, in fact, got hold of my heart and squeezed it tightly.
What I really liked about Zac and Teagan was that their voices were authentic. They didn’t sound too contrived, too childlike, but at the same time it was clear they were children and had a child’s way of looking at things.
I absolutely loved Juliet too. She had issues, but she recognised them and started to deal with them. She never stopped loving Liam, Zac’s dad, and as the book progresses we are drip-fed details about what actually led to Liam leaving.
This is a book that deals with grief, love, guilt, weight issues, bullying – these are some meaty topics but Regan approaches them with understanding and care.
The prose is simply beautiful. Zac has been sent home with a letter from school stating that he is over the weight he should be. Juliet reads the letter and this is what she thinks:
“You want to know what hurts the most about getting that letter? The feeling that something beautiful and sacred has been soiled. Because to me, Zac has always been perfect – the only thing in my life that is – yet here’s this letter in black and white telling me that he isn’t; that the only thing that I’m proud of in my life isn’t even good enough.”
I marked that passage just because it really moved me, but I could have quoted and quoted so many beautiful passages from this book. It’s a stunner of a read. It broke my heart and put it back together again many times and there was one scene in particular, close to the end, that saw me in tears. It’s an absolute beauty!
Nicola Smith, Short Book and Scribes, 5/5
Little Big Man by Katy Regan
Mantle 9781509837380 pbk April 2018
SECOND OPINION: Hummingbird by Tristan Hughes