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The Smallest Girl in the Smallest Grade

3.81  ·  Rating Details ·  368 Ratings  ·  78 Reviews
Hardly anyone noticed young Sally McCabe.
She was the smallest girl in the smallest grade.

But Sally notices everything—from the twenty-seven keys on the janitor’s ring to the bullying happening on the playground. One day, Sally has had enough and decides to make herself heard. And when she takes a chance and stands up to the bullies, she finds that one small girl can make a
Hardcover, 40 pages
Published September 4th 2014 by G.P. Putnam's Sons Books for Young Readers (first published September 1st 2014)
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Community Reviews

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Jan 08, 2015 Jen rated it it was amazing
I adored this sweet story about a small, often ignored little girl who notices absolutely everything, including the unkind acts of her peers. She finally finds her voice and the results are so sweet. A great book for early elementary. Made me and my coworker cry at the desk here at the library ;)
Gretchen Taylor
Great, layered story - important message for all ages, with metaphors to stretch older kids' thinking
Proselytizing drivel that morphs from a book about an overlooked child into The Great and Noble Fight Against Bullying without any real segue. Please note that I am not in any way minimizing bullying, but very few picture books manage to tackle this topic without either creating an excessively boring "story" or falling into the trap of the happily ever after ending.

Plus, it rhymes. Very few picture books pull off rhyming successfully.
Rachel Watkins
Sally McCabe is a little girl blessed (or cursed!) with the ability to pay "super extra special attention" to the world around her. She notices each sad face, schoolyard snub, and hurt feeling. Finally, she can stand it no longer and stands up for those who need help, despite the fact that she's the smallest girl in the smallest grade. I adored this very important book and you will too.
Dec 06, 2014 Amy rated it really liked it
Shelves: kids-books, bullying
The smallest girl in class makes a big impact on her school. This picture book has a deep message about standing up for what is right & treating one another better. It's a great choice for a unit on bullying or just for a read-aloud at story time.
Jul 20, 2016 Danielle rated it it was amazing
I too was once the smallest girl in the smallest grade, and I too noticed every little thing. Sometimes it's a blessing, sometimes it's a curse. Sally uses her gift to make a difference in her world.
Edward Sullivan
Sep 14, 2014 Edward Sullivan rated it liked it
Small girl, invisible to her classmates, makes a big statement about the injustice she observes. Good, inspiring message but too obvious and heavy-handed in the delivery.
Jan 05, 2015 Jacqueline rated it it was ok
Shelves: picture-books
It has a good message, but the rhyming was a bit off for me and the text referred to things that felt unrelated to the story.
Jan 08, 2015 Marci rated it it was amazing
Great picture book about what happens when an overlooked girl finally stands up and says enough to the belittling she sees the other students do to each other.
Nov 06, 2014 Rebecca rated it really liked it
"To all those paying super extra special attention." It matters! Big hearts for this book!
Nov 26, 2016 Diane rated it it was amazing
"Sally was paying super extra special attention."

Though she is the smallest, Sally McCabe sees all the little injustices that seem to go unnoticed by all the other kids at school ... when Tommy Torino was tripped in the hall and when Kevin McKuen gets pushed off a slide. "She'd seen how a whisper could make someone cower like a bulldozer crushing through fields of wildflowers." Until finally, she speaks out. "I'm tired of seeing this terrible stuff. Stop hurting each other! This is enough!" And
Megan Smith
Nov 03, 2016 Megan Smith rated it liked it
A thoughtful discussion starter about when we notice things and how we respond to the world around us.
Nov 23, 2016 Colleen rated it liked it
Shelves: kids, picture-books, 2016
Oct 20, 2016 Susan rated it really liked it
A sweet story about standing up to bullying
Amy Carr
Oct 15, 2016 Amy Carr rated it it was ok
Shelves: picture-book
I thought the premise of this book was excellent but it never made a strong enough point about standing up to bullying and making a difference. Its delivery was too diluted and weak for children to walk away understanding the message and how they can be a positive part of stopping bullying. I was disappointed.
Michele Knott
Oct 16, 2016 Michele Knott rated it really liked it
A good one to pull out to talk about the effect of kindness.
Oct 04, 2016 Amy rated it it was amazing
Shelves: counseling-books
What an adorable book about bullying!!! The smallest girl in kindergarten was bothered by children getting hurt from other children. So, she did something about it and made a difference!!! I can't wait to read this with my lower primary grades!!!!
Richie Partington
Aug 02, 2014 Richie Partington rated it it was amazing
Richie’s Picks: THE SMALLEST GIRL IN THE SMALLEST GRADE by Justin Roberts and Christian Robinson, ill., Putnam, September 2014, 40p., ISBN: 978-0-399-25743-8

“And where is the harmony?
Sweet harmony.”
-- Nick Lowe, “(What’s So Funny ‘Bout) Peace, Love and Understanding”

Sally McCabe is the smallest girl in the smallest grade. Quiet and seemingly invisible to those around her, she’s a keen observer of what is going on at her school and in her world. And what so often is going on around her is hurtful
Sep 24, 2016 Bethe rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Super extra special attention to this gem - rhyming text, adorable illustrations, small kindnesses sprouting like wildflowers. Could make a nice first week of school book - might save it for kindness week in February. Hope students will recognize illustrator from School's First Day of School.
Feb 03, 2016 SJ rated it did not like it
(As always, excellent illustrations by Christian Robinson.)

I'm glad that Sally McCabe was paying attention to all the bad things that were happening at her school. I just wish that she had chosen to stand up against violence when it was actually happening. I am sure Tommy Torino, Kevin McKuen, and Billy would have appreciated a little help... As a bystander she's a passive participant in the violence as well, so I'm not sure why Justin Roberts chose to write the story this way and have that be t
Joanne Roberts
Sep 16, 2016 Joanne Roberts rated it it was ok
A little girl is observant of the many unkindnesses in her surroundings. The message that one person can speak out against injustice is good, but unfortunately, the solution seems rushed. Would have liked to see this handled more effectively. Definitely without the sing-song rhyming text.
Apr 25, 2015 Matthew rated it it was amazing
The little girl that no one pays any attention to makes a seemingly small stand against all the injustice that she witnesses around her school, and it spreads throughout all the school (even the principal joins in). This is a story about the bystander that finally stands up. She doesn't inject herself into the middle of a fight, or take up defending the innocent like a crime-fighting superhero. She simply blows the whistle, metaphorically speaking, stating that she sees what is going on and she ...more
Christine Turner
Hardly anyone noticed young Sally McCabe. She was the smallest girl in the smallest grade. But Sally notices everything - from the twenty-seven keys on the janitor's ring to the bullying happening on the playground. One day, Sally has had enough and decides to make herself heard. And when she takes a chance and stands up to the bullies, she finds that one small girl can make a big difference. Grammy-nominated children's musician Justin Roberts, together with vibrant artwork from award-winning ...more
Sally McCabe notices all the little and big injustices that happens in the world, especially among her classmates. She's small and goes unnoticed by everyone until one day she has had enough and implores her peers to treat each other better. And one by one, it turns out that other children are fed up with the bullying as well. This brief story reminds us of the power of one. I liked the story and the message, of course, but what elevated it for me was Robinson's art. I'm such a fan of him and ...more
Jan 28, 2015 Ellena rated it it was amazing
I read this to my son and did not realize that it would be such a powerful book. It actually brought tears to my eyes. It is about the smallest girl in her class who pays attention to how others are treated. She is often ignored but she has such empathy for those around her. Even though she may be ridiculed she decides to stand up against bullying. Surprisingly others follow her lead. This book has a great take away message that regardless of how small you think you are you can make a big ...more
Mar 11, 2015 Romelle rated it really liked it
I love the message of one little girl can make a difference with an anti-bullying theme. Sally may appear insignificant or ordinary to others, but her qualities are extraordinary. She is observant, kind, insightful, and is not afraid to stand up to what she believes in. While this book may be heavy on message and its rhyme sometimes forced, the use of simile throughout the book softens it. A wonderful empowering book.
Dec 15, 2014 Linda rated it it was amazing
It’s a book about being nice, being kind, and the person who’s going to tell everyone to do things “better” is little Sally, who notices everything because she was “paying extra special attention”. The story shows that being an “up-stander” is a good thing, that even the smallest girl in the smallest grade can make a difference. The childlike drawings by Robinson fit the story very well, because it really is about kids making a difference.
Kristy McRae
Apr 30, 2015 Kristy McRae rated it it was amazing
A sweet story about the littlest girl in the class....maybe nobody is noticing her, but she's noticing everything that goes on around her....and she doesn't like the bullying she sees, so she decides to speak up! Fabulous message for kids of all ages, wrapped up in a great story with fun illustrations.
Jun 30, 2015 Rachel rated it really liked it
Shelves: children, 2015
Sweet story, if slightly didactic, about the power one person can have and the importance of exerting kindness within one's community. Combined with vivid artwork, it's sure to speak to those children who are small and/or struggle to make a difference in their worlds. Recommend for independent or lap reads.
Katie Logonauts
May 16, 2015 Katie Logonauts rated it really liked it
I really wanted to like this book, and I did really like the illustrations - especially the diversity of kids represented! But the story was SO simplistic. One little girl raises one little finger and suddenly the whole world decides to be nice to each other? Switching from being a bystander to doing something about it takes more work than that.
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