Cover image for Big Ben
Big Ben
Ellis, Sarah.
Personal Author:
Publication Information:
Markham, Ont. : Fitzhenry & Whiteside, [2001]

Physical Description:
32 pages : color illustrations ; 27 cm
Program Information:
Accelerated Reader AR LG 1.8 0.5 54828.
Added Author:
Format :


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Item Holds
PIC. BK. Juvenile Fiction Picture Books

On Order



Shining Willow Nominee
Who says little brothers can't do anything?
Poor Ben. He's the little one--the youngest and smallest. His sister Robin is a big kid in grade five; his brother Joe is a big kid in grade two. Ben's just a little kid in preschool. He can't swim, he can't use chopsticks, he can't even see out the car window. And worst of all, today is report card day. More than anything, Ben wants to bring home a report like Robin's and Joe's. But there are no report cards in preschool.
Guess what? Ben is about to discover that sometimes there are report cards--at home , written by older siblings! He's about to get his very own report, grading him on all the activities that little brothers do best.
Beloved children's author Sarah Ellis has followed up her acclaimed picture book debut, Next Stop! (2000) with this irresistible tale of siblings who, every once in a while, remember what it was like to be the little one. Kim La Fave's always-empathetic characters inhabit a child's world with just the right touch of humor and joy. A perfect book for preschoolers, younger siblings and beginner readers.

Reviews 3

Booklist Review

Ages 3-6. Most of the countless stories about siblings explore the jealousies and tricks of rivalry. Not true in Ellis' new title. Here the emphasis is on harmony, with a pair of older siblings who soothe instead of torment their younger brother. Unlike older sister Robin and brother Joe, Ben doesn't get report cards, can't read menus and order adult food at restaurants, and isn't quite tall enough to look at the world outside the car windows. But when Robin and Joe create a clever report card just for Ben (graded areas include "feeding the cat" and "making us laugh"), the preschooler finally feels included. Ellis' simple language has a lulling rhythm that conveys Ben's struggle and relief in an understated, comforting voice. The illustrations, boldly outlined figures with blank Orphan Annie-like eyes, don't make for strong characters, but the spreads do capture some of the story's cozy warmth and reassurance that younger siblings will relish. --Gillian Engberg

Publisher's Weekly Review

The youngest of three, Ben longs to make the grade in Ellis's (Pick Up Sticks) affectionate tale of sibling solidarity. When report card time rolls around for sister Robin and brother Joe, Ben feels left out. "There are no subjects in preschool," Ben laments. "There are no report cards in preschool." Soon, Ben begins to notice lots of things he's too little to do, including swimming, eating with chopsticks and seeing out the backseat of the car. But before long, Robin and Joe come to the rescue, surprising Ben with a homemade report card that includes subjects like "feeding the cat," "shoe tying" and "tooth brushing." Outlined in strong black strokes, LaFave's (Catalogue) misty, mottled colors stand out against the bright white background as the artwork chronicles Ben's thwarted efforts, leading up to his brother's and sister's boost. Ages 3-6. (Dec.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

School Library Journal Review

PreS-Gr 1-It's not easy being the youngest, and Ben feels especially left out on report-card day. His older siblings receive grades and comments from their teachers. But, "Ben is a little kid in preschool. There are no subjects in preschool." Their parents proudly display the report cards on the fridge and Ben's feelings of inadequacy grow. Fortunately, as older siblings occasionally do, they recognize their brother's feelings. They use the family computer to make him his own special report card, giving him straight A's in important subjects like feeding the cat, shoe tying, tooth brushing, whistling, and making them laugh. The report card comes complete with positive comments and does much to improve the little boy's attitude, just in time for bed. The bright, comic-book faces of LaFave's characters are simple, yet highly animated. They display a broad range of emotions, with each illustration vivid against the ample white space. Children will relate to Ben's feelings and appreciate his siblings' kindness. A sweet story with a happy ending.-Piper L. Nyman, Fairfield/Suisun Community Library, Fairfield, CA (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.