Kirkus Reviews QR Code


by Judith Viorst & illustrated by Robin Preiss Glasser

Age Range: 5 - 8

Pub Date: March 1st, 2001
ISBN: 0-689-82941-8
Publisher: Atheneum

Viorst’s tale of two sisters comically captures the vast diversity in personality that can exist between siblings. Olivia, the narrator and older of the two, regales readers with the misadventures of her younger sibling, Sophie. Olivia is neat while Sophie is decidedly not—and therein lies the source of potential discord. Like a seasoned attorney, Olivia presents her case to the reader, offering, albeit unintentionally, one more hilarious tale after another in an attempt to depict Sophie’s haphazard existence. A quintessential pre-adolescent, Olivia’s diatribe is liberally sprinkled with youthful exuberance and exaggeration, containing fine examples of sibling disdain. “No, I’m NOT a rude person. I would never, ever, EVER call Sophie a pig. I’m only saying that PIGS think Sophie’s a pig.” While addressing readers in a chummy, just-between-us manner, Olivia’s tone comes across rather overbearing and superior. Yet here too Viorst has taken a page from real life, for what older sibling doesn’t harbor some feelings of superiority over their hapless younger relations? However, the vivacious Sophie is truly irrepressible, enthusiastically charging forward to embrace life’s offerings, and even Olivia ultimately has to acknowledge her younger sister’s nobler attributes. Finely detailed with a keen comic undertone, Glasser’s drawings are a perfect fit for Viorst’s wry tale. Pen-and-ink drawings come to life with vivid splashes of watercolors, which fill in only certain portions of the illustrations. Brimming with an abundance of visual sallies, these pages are as much fun for readers to examine as to hear. While cleaning fanatics will empathize with Olivia, the rest of the population will be longing to make the lively, free-spirited Sophie their new best friend. (Picture book. 5-8)