Sunday, January 22, 2006

Big Sister, Little Sister

Pham, LeUyen. 2005. BIG SISTER, LITTLE SISTER. New York: Hyperion. ISBN 078685182 [Suggested Grade Levels P-2]

This charming picture book compares the privileges (“The Big Sister gets all the new clothes. I’m the Little Sister. I get all her old clothes”) and traits (“The Big Sister is very neat. I’m the Little Sister. I’m not”) of two young siblings. At the midpoint of the book, the comparisons become increasingly complementary as the relationship becomes more gentle and loving: “The Big Sister tells all the good stories! I’m the Little Sister. I get to listen!” The quickly sketched illustrations in Japanese brush pen, colored in a palette of chocolates and raspberry pinks, are amusing extensions of the simple text. BOOKLIST’S review concludes, “…[O]ne can easily imagine big and little sisters—grown-ups and children—giggling together over its many tender truths.”

By archetyping the girls as Big Sister and Little Sister, Pham universalizes the experience of sibling relationships. The illustrations are full of whimsical detail, inviting participation between reader and listener(s). The facial expressions of the characters, in particular, are full of humor and believability. BIG SISTER, LITTLE SISTER will appeal to most children who have or hope to have a sibling—let’s hope Pham is hard at work on BIG BROTHER, LITTLE BROTHER!

Draw a picture of your favorite thing to do with your sister, brother, or friend.
Discuss conflict and its resolution in family dynamics, focusing on sibling rivalries.

Other picture books about sisters:
Curtis, Marci. BIG SISTER, LITTLE SISTER. ISBN 0142300780
McPhail, David. SISTERS. ISBN 0152046593
Zolotow, Charlotte. BIG SISTER AND LITTLE SISTER. ISBN 0064432173

By Julie Brinker

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