Thursday, November 25, 2010

Big sisters, little sisters - two fun picture books (ages 4 - 8)

Holidays bring families together, and we've been reading about families with our kindergartners and at home. With a family of 3 girls, we know all about big sisters and little sisters. They play together, they talk non-stop, and they drive each other crazy! Two books that capture this perfectly are Big Red Lollipop and Big Sister, Little Sister. Both are perfect for preschoolers and young kids learning to read.
Big Red LollipopBig Red Lollipop
by Rukhsana Khan
illustrated by Sophie Blackall
NY: Viking / Penguin, 2010
ages 4 - 8
available on Amazon and at your local library
When Rubina is invited to a birthday party, her little sister Sana screams and has a fit that she wants to go too. Their mother insists that Rubina brings along her little sister, and Rubina is terribly embarrassed, sure that her mother doesn't understand her or American birthday parties. A few years later, when Sana gets her own party invitation, the tables are turned and the littlest sister starts begging to be included. Siblings everywhere see themselves in this story, understanding how parents ask big sisters to take care of little ones. This tale is rooted in the clashing cultural expectations that new immigrant families experience, but it connects to feelings that many siblings experience. The illustrations, by Sophie Blackall (known for her Ivy & Bean illustrations) are wonderful: colorful, inventive and expressive.
Big Sister, Little SisterBig Sister, Little Sister
by LeUyen Pham
NY: Hyperion, 2005
ages 2 - 6
available on Amazon and at your local library
This fun book, illustrated in spirited, cartoon-style pictures, shows life from a little sister's point of view. "The Big Sister thinks she's always right. I'm the Little Sister. I know I'm right." Life is full of hand-me downs, early bed-times and always trying to catch up. But this book also celebrates the good side of being a little sister - listening to stories your big sister tells you, sneaking behind the sofa to watch your sister's TV shows, and getting piggy back rides. This is a simple, fun book perfect for sharing with big sisters or little sisters.

LeUyen Pham is a wonderful illustrator, whose work I first got to know through the Alvin Ho chapter books and the picture books Grace for President and God's Dream. She captures the ups and downs of being a little sister. As she writes in the dedication, "For Big Sisters everywhere, and for one in particular ... my Big Sister, Lechi Pham. You were always the first at everything, and now you're in my first book!" This is a treasure and a keeper!

Big Red Lollipop is one of the NYTimes Best Illustrated Books of 2010. For other reviews see,
New York Times
Seven Impossible Things Before Breakfast featuring illustrations by Sophie Blackall
Not Just for Kids
The Happy Nappy Bookseller
Kids Lit

The review copies came from my local library and from my home collection. If you make a purchase using the Amazon links here, a small percentage will go to Great Kid Books (at no cost to you). Thank you for your support.


  1. I need this blog for Xmas gifts.

  2. Thanks for the great review! Both of these look like wonderful books for my second grader, who just finished another wonderful picture book by Matthew Gollub called, Jazz Fly 2, which is a rain forest adventure featuring a host of unique fauna including a sloth, spider monkey, anteater and jaguar. The book includes a Latin jazz cd performed by Gollub and inside the story are easy to learn Spanish phrases. My daughter has really enjoyed picking up the new language and listening the the engaging music.