Be in the right mind frame when you are reading Small in the City. As, frankly, Sydney Smith created a downright depressing story. At first you think the narrator is talking to you the reader about how they, the narrator is small, and you the reader are small, too. Therefore, being in the city can be a scary thing if you are not used to it. Then perhaps you think maybe the child is speak to a bird, or even a homeless person due to the tricks and suggestions that are made (how to find a warm spot, who will help them). It is at the end you realize who the narrator is speaking too and learn the true identity of the creature being talked to.
The colors are the color of a stereotypical city: dark, somber colors and over all a cold, bluster, white winter day in a larger city. They are detailed, but also blurry to show the busyness of the city. The hustle and movement. It brings to my mind as if you were watching a postcard or painting come to life, but only in your imagination. It is more artistic and for adults in many ways. Not to say children will not enjoy, but the lack of traditional art and action might not endure it to the more active child.
Is on the NYT’s Best Illustrated Books of the Year and while they are interesting illustrations, they are not for everyone. This is an art book first, story second.