Small in the City


The city is hostile, loud, demanding and exhausting. You can feel the strength of the buildings, the cut of their edges, the blast of the taxi horns. It’s tough to be ‘Small in the City‘.

We disembark from the bus and travel through streets to the alleys, avoiding those that are dark, and parks with big dogs. We are led with good advice, built from experience and love. Who is this love for? For whom is ‘Small in the City‘ setting the parameters? She’s aware, as we are of the blizzards.

Picture book maker Sydney Smith creates her landscape realistically, emotionally. Her colour palette is empathetic, from the misted over views from the bus windows, to the unforgiving white-black harshness of the city streets. Within it travels a little pink bobble on the end of a woolly hat. What is she doing?

Sydney Smith is a unique, captivating picture book maker. ‘Small in the City’ is an emotional, heart-warming, stirring story for readers of all ages. It is a privilege to recommend and sell this title.


Small in the City

Sydney Smith

(Walker Books)- hardback

Do you know what it’s like to be ‘Small in the City’? To be invisible and overwhelmed by sounds and shapes and movements? Maybe you understand that it ‘can make your brain feel like there’s too much stuff in it.’
We take a bus ride into the city, disembarking to make our way through crowded noise. The city is in winter. The buildings and alleys are long and angular. The edges are black edged. It feels grey, hostile and cold. Yet there’s advice when you’re ‘Small in the City‘. For example don’t go down dark alleys, avoid yards with big dogs and seek out good hiding places.
For whom is the advice meant? Who is the ‘small’ searcher? Sydney Smith, winner of the Kate Greenaway award for Town is by the Sea returns. Her story is atmospheric, personal and deeply empathetic. We can smell the fish of the fishmonger, feel the icy chill eased only by the heat from the vents. We hear the choir sing, then the wind chill pick up as the snowy blizzard blasts. Who is ‘Small in the City‘? What does she seek?


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