Review of Bye Bye Big

Every week I write about the books that we read for my son. He is currently 4 years old and loves a good book! I am not a professional book and illustration reviewer or critic, but I can write about the book, what I think about it, and how our son reacted to it.

What the Book is About

“Bye Bye Big” is about the contrast between “big” and “little.” It’s a simple enough book that somewhat describes the food chain in the animal kingdom. It follows a simple formula: “1. There’s a big animal. 2. There’s a little animal or insect. 3. Big animal eats or captures little animal.” It follows this formula until the very end when a little mosquito bites a big man. Then the man falls down and the tiger appears to vomit all the animals that were previously eaten.

Book Information

Title: Bye Bye Big
Author: Margaret Read Macdonald & Gerald Fierst
Illustrator: Kitty Harvill
Published by Plum street Publishers
Text Copyright 2017 by Margaret Read Macdonald & Gerald Fierst
Illustration Copyright 2017 by Kitty Harvill

About the Author & Illustrator

from the back flap jacket:

Margaret Read Macdonald, a folklorist and former children’s librarian, travels the world telling tales in such fascinating spots as Maha Sarakham, Thailand; Kota Kinabalu, Malaysia; and Medellin, Colombia. Her picture books have earned numerous awards including Parenting magazine’s Reading Magic Award, the American Folklore Society’s Aesop Accolade, Anne Izard Storyteller’s Choice Award, and Parents’ Choice Award.

Gerald Fierst, a storyteller, author, and literacy educator, has worked in film, television, and theater and performed as a storyteller in the US, Europe, and Asia. He is currently the The Theater and Film Specialist for the WAE center for the Jewish Service for the Developmentally Disabled and resident storyteller at Zimmerli Museum at Rutgers University. He has been a featured teller at the National Storytelling Festival, a Storyteller in Residence at the International Storytelling Center, and a featured performer at Limmud, the European conference for Jewish education.

Kitty Harvill holds dual residency in the United States and Brazil. She has illustrated several children’s picture books, including Sitting Down to Eat by Bill Harley, which was named an American Bookseller Pick of the List, a Notable Social Studies Trade Book by the National Council of Social Studies, and included in Newsweek’s Best Kids’ Books of the Year. Abayomi, with Darcy Pattison, was named an Outstanding Science Trade Book by the National Science Teachers’ Association.

Values or Lessons

This book is about the food chain and at first, it is about how big animals try to eat the small ones. With its surprise twist ending, it tries to show that small ones like a mosquito could inflict damage to a bigger animal. The animals seemingly going out of the tiger’s mouth, though, is bizarre.


The contrast between big and little is great. But I was bothered by the vomiting of all the animals and the “Bye bye big” at the end. I was trying to understand what it the story is all about. It would have been a good introduction to the food chain, or to talk about how little animals evade the bigger animals. But this book might reinforce the notion that being big is better than being little.


The colors are bright, with cut paper and paint spreads. Sparse text also accompany each page and for small readers, they may be able to read some of the text by themselves.

Overall, our son liked looking at the animals, but we did not reread it.

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