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BIG LITTLE MOTHER by Kevin Kling Kirkus Star


by Kevin Kling ; illustrated by Chris Monroe

Pub Date: Nov. 1st, 2013
ISBN: 978-0-87351-911-3
Publisher: Minnesota Historical Society Press

Kling continues his exploration of sibling relationships (Big Little Brother, 2011) and achieves a level of understanding that is at once personal and universal.

This little boy’s big sister is motherly, inventive, bossy and loves to impart knowledge. Her cat, Kittywumpus, has been her main companion (and victim), but one of her crazy schemes sends her pet running away. Now her little brother is her prime focus, and she makes the most of it. She introduces him to wildly imaginative games, teaches him to dance and views stars with him. He calls her “me one” and refers to himself as “me too,” since she makes him feel smart and talented and he is dazzled by her. The little boy narrates fun-filled vignettes of lighthearted escapades in breezy, conversational syntax. In an epilogue, he pays homage to the woman she became, a mother and teacher to be admired. The text appears in a variety of typefaces, with speech bubbles that enhance the narration. Monroe’s cartoonlike illustrations suggest the 1960s and are rendered in shades of pink and green, yellow and blue. They sweetly match the action, with each depiction of the characters filled with expression and individuality. Brother and sister are companions and partners, and Kling endows them with a depth of feeling that will resonate with young readers and their siblings. (And Kittywumpus eventually comes home.)

Funny, warm and altogether delightful.

(Picture book. 3-8)