The Great and the small by written and illustrated by Andrea Torrey Balsara
Published by: Common Deer Press
This debut story by author Andrea Torrey Balsara, “The Great and the Small“, is a tale unlike anything l have ever read and I was hooked from the start.
The author has crafted a very descriptive, darkly-told suspenseful tale where the reader is taken into a world that is often hidden from humans.
Each chapter begins with an excerpt taken from historical record dealing with the ‘Black death’ which foreshadows the setting of of each chapter. This in turn creates a sense of foreboding within the reader. Atmospheric, detailed black and white illustrations add to intensify this sense of apprehension.
Although for the most part this tale is told from the perspective of Fin, a young disabled rat, whose curiosity often ends with disastrous (dire) results. Yet there is also a parallel storyline. Fin’s zeal in following orders leads into a mishap and an encounter with an ‘ugly two-leg.’ Perceptions are altered for both characters. The reader is given a glimpse into the beginnings of a strangely unique friendship in which both Fin and the ‘two-leg’ gain a greater understanding of one another.
This experience teaches Fin that being a part of the ‘colony’, blind acceptance and trust can have far-reaching consequences. But will he be able to look deep within himself and do the right thing?
This is not a story for the faint of heart, but it is a tale that will surely have a reader sitting at the edge of their seat and holding their breath until the end!
Recommended for intermediate readers!
History- Medieval; medical research; fear; loss; bullying; courage; acceptance; drawing.