Laura Ellen Anderson

I Don't Want to be Small


This little boy has had enough of being so small. His friends can go on the BIG rides at the fair; his brother’s hand-me-down clothes swamp him and nothing he tries seems to help him grow. When he loses his teddy high up in a tree, he tries everything he can think of to get it back. Even a new friend, who is tall, can’t help solve this problem- until they work together.


This is such of lovely book about the joys of friendship and being happy with who you are. The frustration of being too small to do things that others can do is one many will recognise, making the story a great starting point for discussions and encouraging empathy.


The illustrations are a complete delight, beautifully depicting the whole range of emotions from frustration to disappointment to real joy. Laura Ellen Anderson really captures each feeling as her little hero encounters each new challenge and experience. The book also offers plenty of humour through both illustration and text and the story is a joy to read aloud as it bounces along at a pleasing pace.


It is also so lovely to see a boy and girl depicted as enjoying friendship. Having worked together to rescue the bear, they are then happy to continue their new friendship, sharing the bear, playing together and also reading in companionable silence, being perfect in their difference.

I Don’t Want To Be Small Laura Ellen Anderson

Bloomsbury ISBN: 978-1408894064

You can read our review of ‘I Don’t Want Curly Hair’ here.

Laura Ellen Anderson at the Bath Festival


Appearing in an amazing 'Amelia Fang' outfit, Laura looked absolutely wonderful! Her session was fun from start to finish, with lots of audience participation. 

Laura's love of drawing and the influence of stories like 'The Witches' and 'The Worst Witch' from when she was younger have obviously helped her imagine her wonderful new series about Amelia Fang, a young vampire whose parents (the Count and Countess) hold an annual Barbaric Ball. Amelia hates going to the ball... and this year, things in Nocturnia do not go according to plan!


Laura showed us how to draw Squashy (Amelia's pet pumpkin) and then we created some fabulously Repugnant Recipes like those included at the end of the story. There was so much laughter and enjoyment as everyone shared their ideas. 

I was really delighted to meet Jamie Littler, illustrator of 'The Secret Diary of John Drawbridge' and 'The Secret Diary of Jane Pinny' who was in the audience. It's amazing who you meet at Bath Festival Events!


'Amelia Fang and the Barbaric Ball' is a beautiful book with a shiny cover and orange-edged pages. Full of quirky and funny pictures, I can't wait to read it!

'Amelia Fang and the Barbaric Ball'   Laura Ellen Anderson

Egmont  ISBN: 978-1405286725


You can read a review of 'I Don't Want Curly Hair', one of this year's shortlisted picture books, by Laura Ellen Anderson here.

LONGLIST REVIEW: I Don't Want Curly Hair

A little girl with very curly hair tries everything that she can think of to straighten it! When she meets a little girl with long straight hair, she realises that it is important to be yourself!

Brilliantly bouncy rhyming text works in perfect harmony with the fabulous illustrations making this a wonderful read aloud and share story. Although very amusing and witty, the story has a really lovely message about valuing what you look like and playing to your strengths, emphasising the need to accept what makes us individuals and celebrate our differences.

The illustrations are amazing. Big, bold and bright pictures fill each spread, demanding attention. So much personality and emotion is potrayed! Lots of exploration of line, colour and texture could follow looking at these wonderful illustrations as well as work on building character, viewpoint and description in English.

Having read this book to my class (a lively bunch of Y6 children!), I can vouch for its appeal both in terms of illustrations and text! They absolutely loved it, joining in with rhymes and borrowing it constantly from the bookshelf and sharing it with each other. Brilliant fun!

I Don't Want Curly Hair!    Laura Ellen Anderson

Bloomsbury     ISBN: 978-1408868409