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Children's Fiction City & Town Life

Small in the City

by (author) Sydney Smith

Groundwood Books Ltd
Initial publish date
Sep 2019
City & Town Life, Friendship, Pets
  • Hardback

    Publish Date
    Sep 2019
    List Price
  • eBook

    Publish Date
    Sep 2019
    List Price

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Where to buy it

Recommended Age, Grade, and Reading Levels

  • Age: 4 to 7
  • Grade: k to 2
  • Reading age: 4 to 7


The first picture book that the award-winning Sydney Smith has both written and illustrated is a story about feeling small in the city — and finding your way home.

On a snowy day in a big city, a little boy hops off a streetcar and walks through downtown, between office buildings, through parks and down busy streets. Along the way, he provides helpful tips about which alleys make good shortcuts, which trees to climb and where to find a friendly face. All the while, the boy searches for what he has lost …

The first book that award-winning illustrator Sydney Smith has written tells a story of what it means to get lost in the city, travel the wrong path and get caught in bad weather — and to ultimately find your way back home. His beautiful watercolour illustrations alternate between full spreads and small panels, evoking the sometimes overwhelming cacophony of urban sights and sounds, as well as the quiet moments that make all of us feel less small in the city.

Correlates to the Common Core State Standards in English Language Arts:

Identify words and phrases in stories or poems that suggest feelings or appeal to the senses.

Explain how specific aspects of a text's illustrations contribute to what is conveyed by the words in a story (e.g., create mood, emphasize aspects of a character or setting)


About the author

Sydney Smith was born in rural Nova Scotia and has been drawing from an early age. Since graduating from NSCAD University, he has illustrated multiple children’s books, including the highly acclaimed wordless picture book Sidewalk Flowers, conceived by Jon Arno Lawson, which won a Governor General’s Award, was named a New York Times Best Illustrated Children’s Book and has been long-listed for the Kate Greenaway Medal. He is also the illustrator of Grant and Tillie Go Walking by Monica Kulling and The White Cat and the Monk by Jo Ellen Bogart, both highly acclaimed. Sydney has received a number of other awards for his illustrations, including the Lillian Shepherd Memorial Award for Excellence in Illustration. He now lives in Toronto and works in a shared studio space in Chinatown.

Sydney Smith's profile page


  • Winner, CILIP Kate Greenaway Medal
  • Unknown, Elizabeth Mrazik-Cleaver Canadian Picture Book Award
  • Winner, Atlantic Book Award — Lillian Shepherd Award for Excellence in Illustration
  • Winner, Marilyn Baillie Picture Book Award
  • Winner, Ezra Jack Keats Award
  • Winner, Sheila Barry Best Canadian Picture Book of the Year
  • Commended, NPR's Best Books
  • Commended, Horn Book's Fanfare List
  • Winner, Governor General's Literary Award, Young People's Literature - Illustrated Books
  • Commended, New York Times 25 Best Children's Books of 2019
  • Commended, School Library Journal Best Picture Books
  • Commended, Kirkus Best Picture Books
  • Commended, Globe 100 List

Other titles by Sydney Smith

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