HOME SCHOOL BOOK REVIEW
Book: The Littles
Author: John Peterson
Illustrator: Roberta Carter Clark
Publisher: Scholastic Inc., reissued in 1993
Language level: 2 (some common euphemisms)
Reading level: Ages 8-10
Rating: 4 stars (GOOD)
Reviewed by Wayne S. Walker
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Peterson, John. The Littles (copyright 1967 and published by Apple Paperbacks, a trademark of Scholastic, Inc., 555 Broadway, New York City, NY 10012). Another set of books that we purchased from the Children’s Book of the Month Club several years ago is about “The Littles” by John Peterson. The Littles are a family of “tinies,” people who are anywhere from four to six inches high with tails. They are “house tinies” who live in the walls of a house inhabited by the Biggs family in the Big Valley, completely unbeknownst to the big people. However, there are other “house tinies” and similar groups, such as the “wood tinies” who live in trees, “ground tinies” who live in holes in the ground, “brook tinies” who live in caves beside streams, and even “trash tinies” who live in the city dump. The Little family consists of the father, William T. Little, his wife, their son Tom and daughter Lucy, Granny Little, and Uncle Pete. Along the way, Baby Betsy is born, Grandpa Little who had disappeared while exploring is found, and Uncle Nick retires from fighting mice with the “trash tinies” to return home. Also, there are regular visits from Mr. Little’s nephew, Dinky, a glider pilot who marries Miss Della Kett.
We purchased eight of the books. The first is entitled simply The Littles in which the Biggs go on vacation and rent their house out to the Newcombs, who bring in a cat to keep mice away, and Tom Little tames the cat. In The Littles Take a Trip (copyright 1968), the Littles travel to the first annual meeting of the tiny people in the Big Valley and meet some “wood tinies.” In The Littles to the Rescue (copyright 1968), they go to look for Aunt Lily, who was lost while coming to help Mrs. Little have her new baby, and find some “ground tinies.” In The Littles Have a Wedding (copyright 1971), cousin Dinky gets married. In The Littles Give a Party (copyright 1972), it is both the fourth of July and Granny’s birthday, so there is a big party. In The Littles Go Exploring (copyright 1978), the family sets out in search of Grandpa Little, who had gone on an expedition and never returned, and find him shipwrecked with some “brook tinies.” In The Littles and the Big Storm (copyright 1979), they weather a flood in the basement. And in The Littles Go to School (copyright 1983), Tom and Lucy go to school, rather unexpectedly, and get lost.
There are apparently several more Littles books available now as well which we do not have. One of our copies lists five additional titles: The Littles and the Great Halloween Scare, The Littles and the Lost Children, The Littles and the Terrible Tiny Kid, The Littles and the Trash Tinies, and The Littles and Their Friends. Of course, these are pure fiction-fantasy, but along the way mysteries are solved and lessons are learned that reinforce basic principles like honesty, perseverance, family loyalty, and so forth. I found nothing objectionable in these books, except an unusually large amount of euphemisms (“golly” and “gosh” primarily). The independent reading level is around ages 8-10, but these would make good read alouds for younger children (and you can “edit” out the euphemisms!). Mark really enjoyed reading them, and I liked them too. My opinion is that they would make for good recreational reading for children.