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Mr Big is the story of an enormous gorilla who just wants to belong! It does not matter where he goes or what he does, he just does not fit in because of his size. So he buys a piano and starts to play music to reflect his sadness and loneliness. Lo and behold he creates a buzz about the music he plays and he is never lonely again! Ed Vere creates a real empathy for this character through the use of simple language and beautiful and thoughtful illustration. It is a wonderful tale that would suit a Key Stage 1 lesson in PSHE, reflecting on inclusion - just because someone is different from the norm, whatever the difference may be, it does not mean that they are not able to make a valid and worthwhile contribution.

Reader's Review

Key Themes: People are different, people are talented, and we experience various emotions:

This book contained the following messages: because someone is different it doesn’t mean we shouldn’t take time to get to know and understand them; the back cover of the book promotes the message that ‘friends come in all shapes and sizes. The story also recognises that Mr Big has a talent for writing beautiful music and playing it on the piano. Therefore he is talented. He uses this talent as a method of expressing his emotions.

The book is aimed at young children (foundation stage and KS1) and considers the idea of being different and the feelings of sadness and loneliness. This was shown in the book by the wording used e.g. ‘no one stuck around to find out who he really was. So inside he felt very small’. The words change size in line with feelings or for emphasis. The words are simple and to the point and can be easily sounded out.

The illustrations are on bright backgrounds giving the impression that Mr Big is a dark, and scary character. He wears dark clothes at the start of the story and does not smile. As the story progresses and the tone of the story changes so does his clothing, it is brighter and MR BIG smiles. Colour and font have also been used to show the feelings of MR BIG.

In a brief outline Mr Big is BIG, he is seen as different and because of this, no one wants to be his friend. He expresses his sadness by playing the piano. Others hear the wonderful music and want to know who this mystery piano player is. He is invited to play in a band. The characters get to know him and recognize his talent. He is accepted and makes many new friends. He becomes a very happy MR BIG

Overall a fantastic classroom read though perfectly brilliant for independent reading.

Areas of the curriculum this book could be used for include; Literacy as the words contain very few syllables and the majority can be sounded out and can be read using phonetic/ grapheme correspondence. It could also be used in PSHE, to demonstrate emotions and how we can express our emotions e.g. through music. There is also a creative element e.g. Art and how we use colour and texture to express our feelings and emotions or Music e.g. what types of music would you expect MR BIG to play on the piano? There seems to be a jazz theme, what other genres of music are there? It provides food for thought.

Parental Guidance

  • Reading Age: 5+
  • Reading Aloud Age: All ages
  • Clean

If you like this you might like

  • "Chick" - Ed Vere
  • "Banana" - Ed Vere
  • "The Getaway" - Ed Vere

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