Thursday, 24 May 2012

Big Plans by Bob Shea & Lane Smith

In Big Plans one young boy sets out to conquer the world with a stinky hat, a myna bird and some awfully big ideas.  This young narrator is unashamedly confident and I'm inclined to call this book an all American read. It's set in the US and loaded with American references from the White House to the St Louis arch, yet it's a universal tale of just how far your imagination can take you.

We meet our narrator at the end of a fraught school day where he's banished to sit in the corner and stare at the wall.  But on closer investigation there's not much staring going on. Instead, in his mind this little dude has already fled the classroom and is racing across the country like a frenzied politician who's got big ideas that he's about to action.  He reminds me of Ferris Bueller. His touch is like gold dust, people line up to get his attention, and no rules, government, parents or other boundaries are going to stand in his way! He's going to climb a mountain, paint the town red, become the mayor ... and the president ... then fly to the moon.  You see, he's got big plans.

This picture book has more text than many of the others I've featured and it's aimed at an older age group of 4 years plus.  However, you know it's a successful read when a two year old is happy to follow along from start to finish and gets caught up in the frenzy along the way.

It's all BIG; big format, big text and big illustrations.  I envision groups of kids shouting 'big plans' in unison as they read along to this book. From the board room to a football game and all the way to outer space, this kid is unstoppable. He shouts directions left and right and uses fantastic phrases like 'talk turkey' and 'big shots, big wigs and muckety-mucks'. There are telling details layered throughout the text and illustrations (have a look at the chalkboard and his rocket ship), which provide multiple opportunities for discussion when read aloud.  One of my favorite bits is at the beginning where our narrator decides that all he needs is a pair of his Dad's fanciest shoes and one of his shiniest ties in order to set forth and take over the world.  This one may make you sit back and wonder how the young people in your life really see you.

Big Plans is written by Bob Shea with illustrations by Lane Smith.  The publisher is Hyperion.


  1. Sounds like a good book to read at the end of the school year when kids are moving on and up!

  2. I can see how that would work well. Big plans for summer, for the next year ...