Jojo & Winnie: Sister Stories

Marilyn Sachs, Author, Meredith Johnson, Illustrator Dutton Children's Books $14.99 (70p) ISBN 978-0-525-46005-3
Just about every scenario and scrap of dialogue in Sachs's (Almost Fifteen) portrayal of two young sisters ring true. Eight snappy vignettes depict the joys and trials of sisterhood, placing a humorous emphasis on the latter. When Winnie is born, four-year-old Josephine is much less impressed than her parents at the baby's first smile, laugh and attempt at crawling (""Big deal!"" she thinks at every milestone). But even though she won't admit it to her parents, Josephine is pleased when the baby utters her very first word, ""JoJo,"" and thus creates a favorite nickname. In a variety of situations (participating in an Easter egg hunt, whipping up a Father's Day breakfast, making cards for a sick cousin) the sisters play their roles with aplomb: JoJo accuses Winnie of being a copycat, Winnie sniffs that JoJo is always too busy to play. In the cleverest entry, the two stage a game in which they switch identities and prove themselves accomplished mimics. Though Sachs steers clear of sentimentality, she closes with an affecting chapter in which JoJo, after watching the guests arrive at a young neighbor's birthday party to which Winnie was not invited, spends the afternoon entertaining her sister; pressed to explain her burst of generosity, JoJo says, ""I don't like it when other people are mean to you."" The line art briskly captures the duo's emotions and the tender family foundation. Any sister will surely find a bit of herself in one or another of these characters--and possibly even in both. Ages 7-10. (June)
Reviewed on: 05/03/1999
Release date: 06/01/1999
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