“I’d had my suspicions for a while…that someone had replaced my sister with a girl who looked a lot like her. It had to be!”
These words spread over the opening double-page spread, which presents a small girl kneeling on the floor, surrounded by scattered photographs and gazing disconsolately at a family album. On the next page, she is in a kitchen, staring at her big sister, who “was never so tall.” The art is arresting and amusing, a skillful combination of watercolor and other media, using a limited palette. Young readers with older siblings may recognize signs of adolescence considered typical in Western society: a sudden refusal to engage in childish games; secretiveness—“even when it wasn’t close to my birthday”—new intimacy with Mum; pervasive door-slamming. One telling, funny moment occurs when the protagonist turns to her sister’s friends for clues: “but something wasn’t right with them either. And it wasn’t just that a lot of them were boys.” This passage is accompanied by a lineup of wired-in, apathetic-looking teenagers. Despite stereotyping, the book is noteworthy for taking the viewpoint of a younger sibling instead of the more common theme of a beleaguered older child. Gently humorous art and text transform a simple story into a haven for children feeling temporarily sibling-wary.
A tender, whimsical look at growth, change, and sisters. (Picture book. 4-7)