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Children's Fiction Siblings

A+ for Big Ben

by (author) Sarah Ellis

illustrated by Kim La Fave

Pajama Press Inc.
Initial publish date
May 2015
Siblings, Self-Esteem & Self-Reliance, Emotions & Feelings
  • Board book

    Publish Date
    May 2015
    List Price
    $9.95 USD

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Where to buy it

Recommended Age, Grade, and Reading Levels

  • Age: 2 to 5
  • Grade: p to k


His sister is a big kid in grade five. His brother is a big kid in grade three. Ben is a little kid in preschool. He can't swim; he can't use chopsticks; he can't even see out of the car window. If only he could bring home a real report card like the older kids do, then Ben would be happy. But there are no report cards in preschool. Sometimes older siblings remember what it was like to be little, however, and Ben's brother and sister are about to present Ben with his very own report card, grading him on all the activities that little brothers do best.

Award-winning author and illustrator Sarah Ellis and Kim La Fave team up to produce a book that is a triumph for little siblings everywhere. The engaging text, lively illustrations, and board book format are perfect for eager readers with little hands, big hearts, and bigger dreams.

About the authors

Sarah Ellis is one of Canada's most-loved children's writers. A former librarian, she is a highly sought-after children's book reviewer, literary jury member and speaker who lectures internationally on Canadian children's books. She is the winner of the Governor General's Award (Pick-Up Sticks), the Mr. Christie's Award (Out of the Blue and The Several Lives of Orphan Jack) and the Sheila A. Egoff Award (The Baby Project, Back of Beyond and Odd Man Out). Further accolades for Odd Man Out include the prestigious TD Canadian Children's Literature Award, the Dorothy Canfield Fisher Award Master List, ALA Notable Book for Older Readers, Maine State Library Cream of the Crop List and OLA Best Bets - Top 10 Fiction for Children. Sarah Ellis has also won the Vicky Metcalf Award for a Body of Work. Sarah is on the faculty of Vermont College of Fine Arts. She lives in Vancouver, British Columbia.

Sarah Ellis' profile page

Kim La Fave, a Governor General's Award-winning artist, is the illustrator of Amos's Sweater (by Janet Lunn) -- winner of the Ruth Schwartz Children's Book Award and the Amelia Frances Howard-Gibbon Award for illustration -- Follow That Star (by Kenneth Oppel), I Am Small (by Cherrie Fitch), the bestselling The Bones and Skeleton Book (by Steven Cumbaa) and many other children's books. He lives in Roberts Creek, BC.

Kim La Fave's profile page

Editorial Reviews

About A+ for Big Ben

"This sweet and charmingly illustrated book takes seriously a preschooler's need to feel that he is not left behind, while wittily defusing the reverence for grading that's been creeping into elementary school culture."—The New York Times

"Softly hued illustrations with crayon black outlines showcase a sweet family celebrating their abilities in this board book that is suited for shared reading, preferably while snuggled on someone's lap."—School Library Journal

"[A] simple, earnestly told story...[a] quiet gem of a book..."—The New York Journal of Books

"Loosely defined by rough, crayonlike lines, LaFave's images have a swoopy, gestural quality; like Ellis's text, they take a minimalist approach to the range of emotions Ben is feeling, from jealousy to disappointment and pride."—Publishers Weekly

"This delightful short book perfectly encapsulates the trials and tribulations of being the baby of the family, all the while showing the special regard held toward him by the rest of the family."—Resource Links

"The text of the story is simple, approachable, and strongly supported by the illustrations...The illustrations are also emotionally evocative...a charming story of growing up...Highly Recommended."—CM Magazine

"Sarah Ellis...has written a delightful story for youngest readers (ages 2-5)....Kim La Fave has added large, colourful illustrations that help make this a book that will be a favourite with any child who wants to be 'like the big guys.'"—Winnipeg Free Press

"Governor-General's Award winners, Sarah Ellis and Kim La Fave, weave their skills together, creating a truly charming tale. Ellis has a knack for capturing the emotions inherent in family dynamics...Gentle and sweet with a happy ending."—National Reading Campaign

"Sarah Ellis' story is simple and endearing and most parents would delight in the affection the siblings have for each other. And Kim La Fave's drawings mirror that simplicity and warmth in her colour choices, cow-licked hair, and soft lines in her characters."—CanLit for LittleCanadians


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