When you are a child, it is irksome when adults mistake you for being younger than you are. It’s even more galling if you are a child of small stature, for it may be your misfortune, as it is for the heroine of “Not Little” (Neal Porter, 38 pages, $18.99), to be taken as some kind of infant. “People look at me and ask if I’m in preschool,” the girl, Dot, complains in Maya Myers’s lively and understanding text. “At restaurants, they laugh when I order from the grown-up menu.” In Hyewon Yum’s colorful and expressive illustrations, we see why Dot says she’s small but not little: She’s brimming with vigor and personality.
One day at school there’s a newcomer named Sam, and he’s even smaller than Dot. A school bully takes note. In the cafeteria, the mean boy looks at Sam’s lunch: “That must be baby food.” Outraged, Dot intervenes in such a forceful way that she silences the place. In the aftermath, readers ages 4 to 8 see the bully taken aside by a teacher (turns out that he’s pretty small, too) and the start of a new friendship for two children who are emphatically not little.