Great Big Things

  • Great Big Things
  • written by Kate Hoefler
  • illustrated by Noah Klocek
  • published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt (2017)
  • Roar Score: 4/5

What’s that old adage? Oh, who am I kidding? You know what it is. Great things come in small packages, right? Well, Kate Hoefler’s Great Big Things is a beautiful picture book dedicated to that very idea.

Plus, it comes with a tagline on the cover that just screams movie poster: “Even the tiniest heart can be mighty.”

Echoes of Galadriel in the film version of The Fellowship of the Ring, sure, but come on. It’s still catchy.

Great Big Things is gorgeously illustrated by Noah Klocek (whose day job is at a little place called Pixar), and those illustrations really carry the book. The word count is incredibly low. Each spread contains only a short sentence or phrase, which creates a poetic rhythm that begs to be read aloud.

The book begins simply enough: “The world is full of great big things.” We then see some of the greatest, biggest things imaginable: canyons, deserts, oceans, mountains, the night sky . . . and a wee mouse on a remarkable journey.

For even though the mouse might not be a great big thing, it is on a great big adventure with a great big purpose. And it’s that purpose that makes everything standing in his way feel decidedly small.

Great Big Things is worth it for Klocek’s illustrations alone, but the story is surprisingly touching. And it makes a great book for kids who might feel overwhelmed with the world or like they’re facing insurmountable obstacles–whatever they might be.

The greatest gift of the book is its message of hope and kindness.

(Disclosure: HMH provided me with a review copy of this book. All opinions remain my own.)

Jamie is a publishing/book nerd who makes a living by wrangling words together into some sense of coherence. He's the founder and owner of The Roarbots and also a contributor to Syfy Wire,, and GeekDad. On top of that, he hosts The Great Big Beautiful Podcast, which celebrates creativity in popular culture, science, and technology by talking to a wide variety of people who contribute to it.