cover image Big Sister, Little Sister

Big Sister, Little Sister

LeUyen Pham, . . Hyperion, $15.99 (32pp) ISBN 978-0-7868-5182-9

In the first book she has both written and illustrated, Pham (Can You Do This, Old Badger? ) lends a fresh and funny perspective to the pros and cons of being second in the birth order. "The Big Sister usually does things first," says the pigtailed, mischievously chubby, narrator of her girly, schoolmarmish elder. "I'm the Little Sister. I'm always catching up." Although the text is straightforward and familiar in its compare-and-contrast observations ("The Big Sister is very neat. I'm the Little Sister. I'm not"), the book comes alive in Pham's full-page and spot illustrations, created with Japanese brush pen-and-ink and set amid fields of crisp white space. The bold, accomplished brush strokes, washes of predominantly sepia and rose colors, and cheeky characterizations make every vignette bristle and bounce with comic energy. The scenes of sibling collaboration, which often turn treacly in books of this ilk, are every bit as winning as those of sibling conflict. Whether depicting the big sister shielding the little one's eyes from a kissing scene on TV or the little one defiantly smeared with her sister's lipstick ("I'm the little sister. I can't wear lipstick and I'll never be older"), Pham has beautifully captured the touch-and-go affection that is a verity of sibling life. Ages 4-8. (July)