HOME SCHOOL BOOK REVIEW
Book: Teeny Tiny Ernest
Author: Laura T. Barnes
Illustrator: Carol A. Camburn
Publisher: Barnesyard Books, 2000
Language level: 1
(1=nothing objectionable; 2=common euphemisms and/or childish slang terms; 3=some cursing or profanity; 4=a lot of cursing or profanity; 5=obscenity and/or vulgarity)
Reading level: Ages 3 and up
Rating: 5 stars (EXCELLENT)
Reviewed by Wayne S. Walker
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Barnes, Laura T. Teeny Tiny Ernest (published in 2000 by Barnesyard Books). Teeny Tiny Ernest is a miniature donkey who is smaller than the other donkeys, the cow, and the horse. Upset about his size he tries different things to look taller. He seeks to compensate for his short stature by standing on a little hill, which doesn’t fool the cows, and standing on the ramp to the stable and stretching his neck way up high, but that doesn’t fool Travis the horse either. However, Travis notices that something is wrong and asks Ernest why he is upset. The donkey tells him that he is tired of being so tiny, and Travis replies, “Well yes, I guess you are smaller. I never noticed before.” When questioned, the cows agree that they never noticed it before either. The animals all relay the age-old message that “Size doesn’t matter–it’s who you are that matters,” and Ernest realizes that he is special.
Author Laura T. Barnes’s text about finding your strengths and being satisfied with who you are has some reassuring elements to which may children may respond as it emphasizes the fact that who we are comes from the inside. Camburn’s pale pen-and-ink illustrations are simple and sweet, especially the pictures of Ernest, who looks like a huggable stuffed animal, as they assign plenty of personality to the barnyard animals. Both the story and the pictures have a light, airy feel to them. Children will enjoy reading and listening to this book as they learn to look at how special each one of us is no matter what. Other books in the “Ernest” series, of which I think this is the first, are Twist and Ernest, Ernest and Elston, Ernest and the Big Itch, and Ernest’s Special Christmas. We thought that Teeny Tiny Ernest was a cute early reader when our younger son Jeremy was learning how to read.