Teachers’ notes for Morris Gleitzman’s Too Small to Fail written by Jean Yates are now available online. Click on the book jacket or here to download.
By most people’s standards, Oliver has it all. Wealthy parents, a luxurious home, a private, secluded beach house and all the latest mod cons. Yet, Oliver wants more. Specifically, he wants a dog to cuddle and to play with. He wants companionship, and he wants his parents to be around more.
But Oliver is not allowed a dog. His parents, successful investment bankers, don’t have
the time for a dog. Nor would they allow one on their expensive furniture.
Oliver also wants to be better at maths, a subject with which he struggles much to the
delight of the school bullies and to Oliver’s shame. How can he be hopeless at maths
when his father in particular is a mathematical wizard?
Yet Oliver soon learns that he is not the only one with problems. His former housekeeper,
Nancy, threatens to kill the dog of his dreams if he won’t help her recover her life savings
which his parents invested for her and lost. Her daughter, Rose, blames Oliver’s parents
for the death of her father who was killed in an accident trying to bail the family out of
their financial crisis. Oliver soon learns that his parents’ investment bank has been caught
up in the global financial crisis and they now owe a lot of people a lot of money.
Convinced that his parents would never deliberately harm anyone, Oliver sets out to
rectify the problem, determined to raise enough revenue to pay Nancy back her money.
Yet his naivety and impetuosity have a habit of landing him in more and more problems.
Oliver has to draw on every resource he has to help Nancy and her daughter Rose, and
make his parents meet their moral obligations to their clients, whilst at the same time
remaining loyal to them.