Sadie and Ratz, Hannah’s menacing hands, help her to handle her sibling rivalry in this piercingly intelligent foray into chapter books by much-awarded teen author Hartnett.
Hannah lives with her parents and her stick insect, Pin. She would like to have a real pet, but all she has is the disappointing Baby Boy, who is the object of Sadie and Ratz’s anger. When he does the things little brothers do (going into her room, changing the channel or using markers), Sadie and Ratz wake up, jump onto Baby Boy’s head and rub his ears off. One day, the game is changed when Baby Boy starts acting like a crafty 4-year-old. He spills milk, writes on the wall and breaks a valuable timepiece but blames everything on his sister’s naughty hands. When Pin is found missing a leg after Hannah sends her hands on vacation, the parents start to see the truth. The tale is accompanied by warm, expressive gestural charcoal drawings on every page that add much to the story, drawing readers' eyes to the characters' real feelings. Ending on the hopeful note that Baby Boy’s hands and Hannah’s hands are going to be friends, this is one story of sibling rivalry that seems realistic. The kids might not be friends, but their naughty hands can be! For big sisters and Baby Boys adjusting to each other.
A real slice of family life, the sweet with the bitter. (Fiction. 5-8)