Big and I do a lot of digging and lifting, trenching and filling. We’re a team, a good team, the best.
But some days Big goes a bit wobbly and I get a lot worried.
Big and Small are two machines working together on building projects. But when Big starts to malfunction, Small is affected. First, Big drives into the water, thinking he is a boat. Then he picks Small up and won’t put him down – because he thinks that the other machines want to hurt Small. Small turns to the boss and Mechanic, who find that Big’s computer is getting mixed up. They help Big to get better, and offer support to Small.
Big and Me uses the metaphor of a machine with computer problems to explore the topic of mental illness in adults. Small is cast as the child seeking to understand a parent’s mental illness, with the support of other adults and friends. This use of metaphor allows a fairly weighty and difficult topic to be dealt with in a way which even very young children will be able to connect with.
Author/Illustrator David Miller uses his renowned paper sculpture illustrations to bring the tale to life. The machines are created in 3D sculpture, then photographed. The backgrounds are muted, the blues and ochres providing colour, but still reflecting the serious nature of the story.
Big and Me is a gentle, realistic story which offers both hope and a path to understanding mental illness and its impact both on adults and children.
Big and Me, by David Miller
Ford Street, 2008
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