Cover image for The smallest girl in the smallest grade / by Justin Roberts ; illustrated by Christian Robinson.
The smallest girl in the smallest grade / by Justin Roberts ; illustrated by Christian Robinson.
Publication Information:
New York : G. P. Putnam's Sons, [2014]

Physical Description:
1 volume (unpaged) : colour illustrations ; 28 cm
Added Author:


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
ROB Book Easy Collection

On Order



Hardly anyone noticed young Sally McCabe. She was the smallest girl in the smallest grade. But Sally notices everything - from the twenty-seven keys on the janitor's ring to the bullying happening on the playground. One day, Sally has had enough and decides to make herself heard. And when she takes a chance and stands up to the bullies, she finds that one small girl can make a big difference. Grammy-nominated children's musician Justin Roberts, together with vibrant artwork from award-winning illustrator Christian Robinson, will have readers cheering for young Sally McCabe.

Author Notes

Grammy-nominated Justin Roberts is an all-star of the family music scene. Hailed by the New York Times as "the Judy Blume of kiddie rock," he logs thousands of miles on the road each year, dishing out unexpectedly intelligent and fun rocking music for kids and their parents. Justin lives in Illinois. Visit Justin at

Christian Robinson is an illustrator of picture books living and working in San Francisco. He studied at the California Institute of the Arts. He has worked with Pixar Animation Studios, The Sesame Street Workshop, and Jib Jab. Visit Christian at

Reviews 2

Publisher's Weekly Review

No one notices tiny Sally McCabe, but she is "paying super extra special attention" to everything around her-and what she sees is an epidemic of bullying, brusqueness, and cruelty in her school ("She saw Kevin McKuen get pushed off the slide-/ and the oncoming tears that he wanted to hide"). So Sally takes a stand, Norma Rae-style, in the lunchroom: "I'm tired of seeing this terrible stuff," she proclaims, sticking her finger emphatically in the air. "Stop hurting each other! This is enough!" Children's musician Roberts can pour it on a little thick ("She'd seen how a whisper could make someone cower/ like a bulldozer crushing through fields of wildflowers"), but his premise should strike a chord with an age group that has a strong sense of injustice, and Sally's big moment is genuinely inspiring. (The story is adapted from Roberts's song "Billy the Bully.") He's also well served by Robinson's (Gaston) naif, colored pencil drawings, which have a poignant expressiveness and the emotional directness of real schoolroom art. Ages 3-5. Author's agency: Davey Literary & Media. Illustrator's agent: Steven Malk, Writers House. (Sept.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.

New York Review of Books Review

Edda's home is in Asgard, "a land full of magic and adventure." But Edda, the littlest Valkyrie, doesn't have quite enough to do, until her father flies her "all the way to Earth for the first day of school." The contrast between home and school is hard to get used to (in one, she can ride reindeer; in the other she gazes through glass at the classroom guinea pig). In his first picture book, Auerbach mingles the two worlds unapologetically. Children are likely to appreciate the joke. MY TEACHER IS A MONSTER! (NO, I AM NOT.) Written and illustrated by Peter Brown. 40 pp. Little, Brown. $18. (Picture book; ages 4 to 7) Brown, who won a 2013 Caldecott Honor for "Creepy Carrots!," can really make a teacher look terrifying. Ms. Kirby is as enormous as a rhino, with pointed teeth and big clawed hands. She stomps around and yells, and Bobby, one of the boys in her class, has gotten on her bad side by throwing a paper airplane. Later, when they meet by accident in the park, it's awkward. But "a gust of wind changed everything," and Bobby learns that appearances are not always as they seem. PLANET KINDERGARTEN By Sue Ganz-Schmitt. Illustrated by Shane Prigmore. 32 pp. Chronicle. $16.99. (Picture book; ages 4 to 7) After careful preparations and a successful blastoff, a boy finds himself in a very unfamiliar environment. "We're aliens from many galaxies on Planet Kindergarten," he reflects as he sees his very varied classmates for the first time. Prigmore, who designs for the movie industry, deploys black backgrounds, bright, popping colors and crazy layouts to give this space adventure visual excitement and madcap humor. THE SMALLEST GIRL IN THE SMALLEST GRADE By Justin Roberts. Illustrated by Christian Robinson. 32 pp. Putnam. $16.99. (Picture book; ages 4 to 8) It makes sense that the author of the long, rhyming lines in "The Smallest Girl in the Smallest Grade" is a children's music performer. This is a ballad, really, about the power of one small person to fight injustice. Sally, whom no one ever seems to notice, is "paying super extra special attention" to the "terrible stuff" happening around her. When she decides to take action, she's not alone for long. Robinson's colored-pencil illustrations give this inspiring story an appropriately childlike style. AND TWO BOYS BOOED By Judith Viorst. Illustrated by Sophie Black-all. 32 pp. Margaret Ferguson/Farrar, Straus & Giroux. $16.99. (Lift-the-flap picture book; ages 4 to 8) Ever felt quietly confident one minute, and a shivering mess the next? In Viorst's witty story about perseverance, a little boy wakes up thinking about singing his song in the class talent show. Blackall, who brings quirky expression to every illustration, shows him under a lift-the-flap patchwork quilt, eyes wide with excitement. But as he waits to perform, even his words get confused: "On the talent of the morning show, I was ready to song my sing." Just doing it turns out to be the solution. ONLINE A slide show of this week's illustrated books at