Picturebook Review: Small Saul by Ashley Spires

Small Saul is a picture book written and illustrated by Ashley Spires. Saul has always loved the sea, and wanted to sail. Unfortunately he was too short to met the Navy's height requirement. So, he joined up with pirates to have his chance at sea. He is a little different from the others, but he still graduates from pirate school and sets sail. The other pirates think that he is strange, and eventually throw him overboard. However, they soon miss Saul and the very things that made him so different and rescue him from the sea.

I loved Small Saul. As a vertically challenged, and unusual, soul myself I found that I related to Saul. I bet many kids will too. Saul is short, but the story has very little to do with his height, other than the fact that it has kept him from the Navy. The heart of the story is that Saul is a little different, but it is the differences that initially bother other people that make him so special. Children that feel like the outcast, and those that tend to pick on the outcasts, can see something of themselves in the story. It can start a great discussion in a classroom about what makes each of us special, and why those differences should be celebrated rather than punished.

Small Saul is a great picturebook about following your dreams, and being yourself. The illustrations are charming, and the fact that I look a little like Saul (sans the facial hair) made me laugh and enjoy the story a little more. The style is unique and simply fun. While Saul might not be a typical pirate, he really does try to fit in, he is the kind of pirate I would want living in my house, and on my ship. The bunny tattoo, and need to clean, and skills in the kitchen would make him a welcome addition to me crew.

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