BIG SISTER, LITTLE SISTER

A paean to sisterhood captures the girls at, mostly, their sweetest in bright, crisp full-color photographs. A simple bit of verse accompanies the interactions of four pairs of siblings; the words, “Big Sister and I, racing hand in hand./Little Sister picks the biggest pumpkin in the land,” are complemented by scenes of the girls trooping through the woods and poking through the pumpkin patch. What is plain is the happiness coming off the pages as the twosomes share a book or a bite of food, an overcoat or some puddle-jumping, a book or a jump rope. Onlookers will identify with the infrequent episodes of conflict, in which tears run and hair is pulled, some of which appear a little staged; outweighing those are scenes that delight, moments of pure companionship to make other siblings smile. (Picture book. 4-8)

Pub Date: March 1, 2000

ISBN: 0-8037-2482-9

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Dial Books

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 15, 1999

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KEVIN AND HIS DAD

There is something profoundly elemental going on in Smalls’s book: the capturing of a moment of unmediated joy. It’s not melodramatic, but just a Saturday in which an African-American father and son immerse themselves in each other’s company when the woman of the house is away. Putting first things first, they tidy up the house, with an unheralded sense of purpose motivating their actions: “Then we clean, clean, clean the windows,/wipe, wipe, wash them right./My dad shines in the windows’ light.” When their work is done, they head for the park for some batting practice, then to the movies where the boy gets to choose between films. After a snack, they work their way homeward, racing each other, doing a dance step or two, then “Dad takes my hand and slows down./I understand, and we slow down./It’s a long, long walk./We have a quiet talk and smile.” Smalls treats the material without pretense, leaving it guileless and thus accessible to readers. Hays’s artwork is wistful and idyllic, just as this day is for one small boy. (Picture book. 5-8)

Pub Date: April 1, 1999

ISBN: 0-316-79899-1

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Little, Brown

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 1, 1999

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ME AND MY FAMILY TREE

PLB 0-517-70967-8 Me And My Family Tree (32 pp.; $13.00; PLB $14.99; May; 0-517-70966-X; PLB 0-517-70967-8): For children who are naturally curious about the people who care for them (most make inquiries into family relationships at an early age), Sweeney explains, with the assistance of a young narrator, the concept of a family tree. Photographs become understandable once the young girl learns the relationships among family members; she wonders what her own family tree will look like when she marries and has children. A larger message comes at the end of this story: not only does she have a family tree, but so does everyone in the world. Cable’s drawings clearly define the process of creating a family tree; she provides a blank tree so children can start on their own geneaology.(Picture book. 5-7)

Pub Date: May 1, 1999

ISBN: 0-517-70966-X

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Crown

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 15, 1999

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