Someone Bigger

Illustrated by Adrian Reynolds

Sam and Dad have made a kite.
They've made it large; they've made it light.
Sam can't wait to try it, but Sam's Dad says Sam's too small to fly it –
this kite needs SOMEONE BIGGER!

"This fun outing has three things going for it: the story, the writing, and the art - a triple threat in the picture-book department."


"Colourfully accomplished, energetic illustrations ... Brisk, tidily rhythmic and neatly rhymed verse ... Early years classrooms would be all the brighter for the presence of this book."


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UK Hardcover • ISBN: 0192791249

UK Paperback • ISBN: 0192725599


Clarion Books

US Hardcover • ISBN: 0618443975


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Spread 1 Spread 2
The text shown is from the original UK edition and differs slightly from the US edition.

My son, Max, was two years old when I started working on this story and the proud owner of a "Thomas the Tank Engine" kite. Whenever we took the kite out, Max was always keen to hold the string and fly it himself. However this wasn't always practical - in a light wind he had difficulty getting it off the ground and in stronger winds I was worried that he would let go of it. It was his understandable frustration at having to stand by and watch a grown-up flying HIS kite that inspired this story.

The text and illustrations of picture books are often subject to tweaks and changes right up to the moment of publication. With this book, Adrian had to produce a new cover illustration at the last minute when a major high-street bookseller, which was interested in promoting the book, felt that the original cover illustration didn't reflect the dynamic nature of the story. The original cover (which is still my favourite) is shown opposite.

I wasn't happy with the story the first few times I tried to write it, so I kept putting it to one side and went through several versions before I came up with the final draft.

The first version I have on file was written in 1998 and was called "Katie's Kite". It was very similar to the final version, except that the story was centred around a small girl rather than a small boy and it was not told in rhyme.

Two years later I had another version called "The Runaway Kite". This version featured animal characters, with Katie and her father replaced by a shrew and a mouse. A succession of progressively larger animals, ranging from a squirrel to a bear, attempt to secure the runaway kite – only to be pulled up into the sky after it. This animal version, which was still not in rhyme, included one of the airborne characters shouting the line "Find someone bigger to grab hold of it."

When I went back to the story for a third time, I fastened onto the phrase "someone bigger", reverted back to human characters and decided to try setting the story in rhyme – and this time I came up with something that I was happy with.

I think that the final story has a traditional nursery tale feel to it and I described it to prospective publishers as the "The Enormous Turnip" turned upside down, with a pinch of "The Golden Goose" thrown in.

Oxford University Press took the story and asked Adrian Reynolds to illustrate it. I had strong preconceptions about how the illustrations might look – I had expected to see lots of long shots with the little boy, Sam, and the kite at opposite corners of the spread. However Adrian's drawings turned out to be dramatically different, consisting chiefly of close ups and striking aerial perspectives. The resulting illustrations have exceeded my expectations and I think that they have made the story far more dynamic and immediately appealing. My favourite spread is the one that shows the postman being pulled up into the sky with all his letters tumbling out of his bag (click here to see this spread).

This book is for
Illustrations © 2003 Adrian Reynolds. Reproduced by permission of Oxford University Press.


In Emmett's winning fable about competence and confidence, young Sam believes he's old enough to take the reins of his new kite, which Reynolds depicts as larger, than the young hero (and nearly as large as Dad). "No, you're too small!" says Dad. "This kite needs someone bigger." Then the wind kicks up and the father finds himself flying. Several other adults ("a postman with a sack of mail, / a bank robber, escaped from jail... " a bride, her groom, etc.) plus some hefty critters try to pull the kite down only to be taken aloft. "Can I hold it now? / ... / I'm old enough - / I know I am!" Sam asks each time another victim ascends. "No you're too small!" comes the refrain. "This kite needs someone bigger!"
Reynolds's fine black line limns strong, crisp shapes and his saturated watercolors make a wonderful foil for the improbable aerodynamics. Because the pictures never cross over into cartoonishness, the focus remains on the earthbound Sam and his determination to prove his mastery. Finally, when Sam is the only one not airborne, he grabs the string "and even though he wound and wound, / his feet stayed firmly on the ground." With everyone returned to terra firma, Emmett and Reynolds offer satisfaction to young readers on two counts - Sam not only gets his moment of triumph, he also gets to say, "told you so." Age 4-7.


This fun outing has three things going for it: the story, the writing, and the art - a triple threat in the picture-book department. The rhymed narrative is cheerful, telling the cumulative tale of a kite that keeps going skyward ... Bravo, Sam, and a decided nod to Reynolds's art, too, with its buoyant, serene tomfoolery full of round-mouthed, dot-eyed whimsy.


Colourfully accomplished, energetic full- and double-page illustrations ... The entire narrative canters along in brisk, tidily rhythmic and neatly rhymed verse. Early years classrooms would be all the brighter for the presence of this book, not least because of the subtle way in which it encourages children to join in.

Trevor Dickinson, SCHOOL LIBRARIAN

Reynolds's colorful watercolor cartoons depict the bouncy adventure, which is told in singsong verses ... Young readers will appreciate the boy's predicament and love the fact that, despite his small stature, he saves the day. A great choice for storytime and one-on-one sharing.


With its rhyming text and repetition, this is a delightful story about the frustrations of being a small child.


This is a delightful tale of lyrical text and fanciful pictures ... A fun story for readers proving that bigger doesn't always mean better.


Reynolds takes full advantage of the slapstick nature of the story, matching the silliness with humorous watercolor scenes, often shown from unusual aerial perspectives, depicting astonished people on the ground watching as a growing parade of humans and animals dangle from the kite string. Of course, Sam proves in the end that he is big enough to handle the kite, and kids will cheer his heroics. The catchy rhymes and colorful art make this a good choice for a spring storytime.

Lauren Peterson, BOOKLIST

Clever rhymes and a bouncy rhythm enhance the comically cumulative scenario, while bold watercolors add dramatic perspectives and expressive characterizations.


Neither the rhyme nor the sequencing strays in this delightful cumulative tale. The bright primary color illustrations spread over the page and from various angles capture the topsy turvy action.
Bayviews Rating: OUTSTANDING

Sherrill Kumler, Hayward PL, BAYVIEWS

For sheer fun for the little ones, Someone Bigger by Jonathan Emmett and Adrian Reynolds would be hard to beat.


A cautionary tale warning all bossy dads that they are not always right! ... Great for getting kids to really laugh ... Fabulously drawn pictures make this book really popular with little boys, who want to BE Sam!


Perfect for anyone who’s ever felt that size doesn’t matter ... Written with great rhyming text and rhythm, we fell head over heels for this book.




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