JUST LIKE SISTERS by Angela McAllister


by & illustrated by
Age Range: 5 - 8
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In this fresh, but odd spin on pen pals, Nancy is excited that her pen pal in Florida is coming to visit; from their exchange of letters, Ally seems almost like a sister. When Ally steps off the plane, only the readers will be surprised, unlike Nancy or her parents, that Ally is really an alligator (despite the tip-off on the cover). On the way home, they stop for pizza and Ally eats nine Spicy Shrimp pizzas. Back home, Nancy shows Ally all her treasures, while Ally shows her the photo album she brought. Nancy plays her favorite songs; Ally teaches her the Swamp Stomp and Crazy Creek Creep. They shop (buying matching pink feather boas), go to the swimming pool, ballet class, rollerskating, the beach and make friendship bracelets. Coy details in the colorful illustrations add understated humor (e.g., Ally in her matching red bathing suit and pink ballet outfit). The underlying sentiment is expressed in the last sentence: “Sisters are together even when they’re apart.” It’s puzzling, however, that Ally is the only nonhuman in the whole story and why would people think she and Nancy are sisters unless being an alligator is supposed to stand in for being different. (Picture book. 5-8)

Pub Date: June 1st, 2006
ISBN: 1-4169-0643-6
Page count: 32pp
Publisher: Anne Schwartz/Atheneum
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 15th, 2006


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