Peter Pan Syndrome! I Don't Want to Be Big by Dev Petty
"YOU NEED TO EAT YOUR DINNER!" SAID BIG FROG. "DON'T YOU WANT TO GROW?"
"I DON'T WANT TO BE BIG!" SAID LITTLE FROG.
Ever since Peter Pan strutted across the stage, singing "I'll never grow up, never grow up--NOT ME!" kids have had an argument for staying kids.
Big Frog points out to benefits of growing up.
"DON'T YOU WANT TO BE ABLE TO TO JUMP HIGH ENOUGH TO MEET THE TREE FROGS?"
Little Frog takes one look at the horde of scary red-eyed tree frogs staring down at him. and pointedly takes a pass on that.
Being a grown up is not all it's cracked up to be! Being big makes it hard to win at hide-and-seek. Ask Elephant! There's not enough leg room and you hit your head on stuff. You're too close to the sun.
Seriously? Too close to the sun? Pig scoffs at Little Frog's dissent, pointing out that being big gets him the biggest muddle puddle and bucket of garbage in the barnyard.
Not an incentive, thinks Little Frog. Then Pig points out something that he hasn't considered.
"GROWING BIGGER DOESN'T MEAN THAT YOU HAVE TO GROW UP."
Maybe he will have that dinner after all, thinks Little Frog, as long as it doesn't come with a mandatory bath, in Dev Petty's latest about his contrary kid frog, I Don't Want to Be Big (Doubleday and Company, 2016), in this sequel to Petty's oppositional juvenile frog, who made his first appearance in Petty's hit picture book I Don't Want to Be a Frog, (See review here).
In this sequel author Petty again uses the cantankerous preschooler model to good effect, assisted by artist Mike Boldt, whose clever book design (with much of the dialog carried out in thought or speech balloons) and hilarious cartoon illustrations put this one over the top. Boldt's textless, two-page spread of scary red-eyed tree frogs glaring down en masse guarantees giggles from young listeners, especially the ones inclined to negotiate each deal with impatient parents.
For those weary elders, it must be noted that author Dev Petty slyly ends each book with the contentious tot eating his dinner, which is the primary premise behind the whole thing. Score: Big Frog 2, Little Frog 0!
Says School Library Journal, "An amusing book about why getting big doesn't necessarily mean you have to grow up."