Rubina has been invited to her first birthday party, and her mother, Ami, insists that she bring her little sister along. Rubina is mortified, but she can’t convince Ami that you just don’t bring your younger sister to your friend’s party. So both girls go, and not only does Sana demand to win every game, but after the party she steals Rubina’s prized party favor, a red lollipop. What’s a fed-up big sister to do?
At the beginning of this book, I was a little skeptical, but as the story unfolded, I was hooked. The book has a decent amount of diversity without appearing to be trying too hard. The way this outsider family navigates new cultural norms and learns empathy and understanding both among sisters and for a new culture is impressive. The sibling dynamic is fairly typical without being over the top. I was glad that the mother listened to her older daughter’s opinion near the end of the story, valuing the way her child’s experience could inform her decision and help her to be sympathetic to her other daughter’s wishes. The illustrations are nicely drawn and enhance the mood of each page.
Sophie Blackall (www.sophieblackall.com) is the illustrator of several award-winning picture books, including Meet Wild Boars by Meg Rosoff, Pecan Pie Baby by Jacqueline Woodson, Big Red Lollipop (by Rukhsana Khan), and the Ivy and Bean books by Annie Barrows. Her many honors include a BCCB Blue Ribbon, Ezra Jack Keats New Illustrator Award, Society of Illustrators Founders Award, Publishers Weekly Best Children’s Book, Book Sense 76 Pick, and New York Times Top Ten Picture Book. Her artwork has also appeared in murals as part of the New York City MTA’s “Arts for Transit” program. Previously she has had jobs in a shoe shop and a robot factory. She lives in Brooklyn, New York.
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