TINKA
by Rainy Dohaney
Anne Schwartz Book
Atheneum Books for Young Readers
0-689-85261-4
$15.95
Ages 3-7

Sure you’ve heard of Tom Thumb and Thumbelina . . . each no bigger than your thumb. But have you ever heard of Tinka? No? Then, you are in for a treat. Tinka is a sheep. She’s soft and cuddly and absolutely adorable. But, Tinka is no ordinary sheep. She’s as small as a cupcake. She can fit in your hand or you can easily tuck her away in your pocket. Sounds fun, huh?

But, it’s not always easy being small. For that matter, it’s not easy being too tall, too fat, or too thin. It’s not easy being too young or too old, and if you are like Kermit the Frog from Sesame Street, “It’s not easy being green.” Extremes are most always difficult.

Poor Tinka is too small. She’s too small to make enough wool. She’s too small to sleep with the other sheep. She’s too small to see over the fence . . . even standing on her tippytoes. Tinka is so small that she can’t even see the purple spider creeping across the hillside in the far distance and that is what all the other sheep are baaa-ing about. The purple spider is a sure sign of spring. But, when Tinka’s friend, Sooty, flies by, Tinka crawls on his back and for once she is grateful for her smallness.

Children will delight with Tinka as she flies higher than any sheep ever could. They will cheer her on and soar with her over the farms and fields to the “baah-aah-aah-eeootiful” home of the purple spider. And, together they will return to the farmyard with a secret . . . a secret you can be privy to by reading TINKA, written and illustrated by Rainy Dohaney.

Ms. Dohaney paints a gentle story with both her words and her art. With watercolors and colored pencils, she crafts “baah-aah-aah-eeootiful” illustrations, which create a mood of serenity and peacefulness. This would make a wonderful bedtime story. Children will want to hear it over and over again . . . probably a “schmillion” times.

This review can also be seen on: SmartWriters
FROM the MOUTHS of KIDDLE CRITers: a critique group

“There was a little sheep called Tinka,” said Pritka.

“She was really tiny,” said Philippe.

“Yeah, she was as small as a mouse,” said Pritka. “She could almost fit in your hand.”

“But, I think Tinka felt sad,” said Juan.

Jake agreed. “ . . . because she was too small,” he said.

Juan said, “I was sad once . . . just like Tinka.”

“Me too,” Tina interrupted. “Tinka reminded me about when I went on a cruise this summer. I was in a playgroup and I was the smallest one there. And nobody played with me. It was lonely. Tinka probably felt pretty lonely, too, because the sheep weren’t paying attention to her.”

“She was sad when she was sleeping alone, too,” said Philippe.

“Right! At night she slept alone in the corner. I think she felt like an orphan,” said Pritka.

“Hmmm . . . “ said Lucy. “Maybe Tinka felt left out because she didn’t feel the same on the outside of her . . . and she didn’t know that she was the same on the inside.”

“And she kind of looked different because she was so small,” said Hannah.

“And her color was different, too,” said Lucy.

“Yeah, Tinka was yellow,” said Philippe.

“Maybe that’s why the sheep were not being nice at all,” said Hannah. “But, who cares if Tinka is small?”

“Well, I felt bad for Tinka because she couldn’t do that much stuff,” said Roberto.

Hannah shook her head. “She can do a lot of stuff,” she said.

“Yeah” said Jake. “She can go through tall grass and no one would see her.”

Then Roberto laughed and thought a moment. “ Another good thing about being small is that Tinka can go through holes and through fences and explore.

“You know,” said Jake. “If I were small like Tinka, I would make a little designer house and I could use one block for a bed. “

Hannah laughed. “ Tinka was so tiny she even fit on the crow.”

“She was really lucky,” said Philippe. “She got to go to the spider.”

“Every spring the big spider came, but Tinka could never see it,” said Jake.

“So, she went on the crow and flew there, said Philippe.”

“But it wasn’t really a spider,” said Jake. The kiddles laughed as if they had a secret.

Then Philippe said, “I think it’s okay to be small. And it’s okay to be big . . . whatever size you are, is okay.”

“Right!” said Jake. “Bigger is not always better.”


TEACHER TALK

Children often play the “What If . . . ” game. Hey, I bet you have, too. Don’t we all? What if I won the lottery? What if I could eat anything I wanted and never gain an ounce. What if every day were sunny? Come on . . . give it a try. The list is endless.


“IF I WERE . . . “ GAME

Place children into small groups of two or three.

Ask: “If you were as small as Tinka, what could you do?”

Have children discuss possible activities. Each child should try to contribute at least one suggestion. Have children make a list of all appropriate suggestions. Some examples follow.

If I were as small as Tinka:
I could sleep in a tissue box.
I could have a hamster for a best friend.
I could take a bath in a teacup.
I could live in a dollhouse.
I could hide in a cash register drawer.
I could play in a toilet paper roll.

Then have the children illustrate their suggestions.

Type up all “TINKA” suggestions. Cut apart sentence strips and label each child’s picture.

Frame each picture on different colored construction paper, laminate for durability, and then compile into book format. This makes a great classroom book for shared reading and a great way for children to practice their reading skills.


DISCUSSION: EMOTIONAL AWARENESS

Have children discuss times in their lives when they may have felt uncomfortable because they were too ____________ to do something.

Fill in the blank with a variety of discussion topics.

too young too old too slow too grumpy

If you like TINKA or books about sheep or characters who are worried about their size, you may also like the following books:

HEY, LITTLE ANT by Phillip M. Hoose & Hannah Hoose, illustrated by Debbie Tilley

SIX CREEPY SHEEP by Judith Ross Enderle & Stephanie Gordon Tessler, illustrated by John O'Brien

COCK-A-DOODLE DUDLEY by Bill Peet
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