Little Lena and the Big Table

Little Lena and the Big Table, by P.J. McIlvaine, Illustrated by Leila Nabih, Big Belly Book Co. 2019

Publisher’s description: “Little Lena has her heart set to sit at the big table. But every year her family tells her she’s just not big enough. Little Lena is determined to show everyone how big she is. This book is full of chaos and heartfelt charm.”

Author, P.J. McIlvaine, has lots of writing experience, but this is her debut picture book. (Don’t miss my upcoming author interview with P.J. McIlvaine, on Wednesday, July 31st.) P.J. teamed up with experienced illustrator, Leila Nabih, to create this adorable picture book about the universal yearning to grow up faster.

Stuck at the little kids’ table during family holidays, Little Lena thinks, “Ugh… I’m too old to be with these babies.” So she sets out to prove that she belongs at the Big Table by being a big helper. The story is cute, funny, and relatable. And just like in real life, Little Lena eventually learns that being with the grown ups isn’t all its cracked up to be. (Isn’t that the truth?) This is a great story to add to the library of any little one who longs to be bigger.

The illustrations are also adorable. I love the muted colors and the tablecloth textured backgrounds. My favorite detail is Little Lena’s mismatched socks, which fit her personality to a tee. Just cute, cute, cute.

*Thank you, PJ, for giving me access to a free PDF copy of your book in exchange for my honest review.*


6 thoughts on “Little Lena and the Big Table

  1. I clearly remember that little table my mother set in the dining room, just out of reach of the grownup’s table, when we had company. Frankly, I preferred the kid’s table. The grownups always talked and argued about politics while I got to chat about games and toys, school and art, and eat cake with my fingers because my parents were too deep in conversation to notice. Plus, kids giggle a whole lot more than grownups. That said, I’m super excited to read P.J. McIlvaine’s debut picture book! Your review of Little Lena and the Big Table was fantastic.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks, Leslie! Same here. Last year when my mom’s side got together, all the cousins sat together. It still felt like the “kids’ table” even though we’re all grown up and I have kiddos of my own. 🙂


  2. Thank you for such a lovely review! I’m delighted you noticed those mismatched socks !

    Liked by 1 person

    1. You’re welcome! Lovely illustrations. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

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