cover image Sisters First

Sisters First

Jenna Bush Hager and Barbara Pierce Bush, illus. by Ramona Kaulitzki. Little, Brown, $18.99 (40p) ISBN 978-0-316-53478-9

Hager and Bush follow up their 2017 memoir, Sisters First: Stories from Our Wild and Wonderful Life, with this heartfelt picture book tribute to sisterhood—both literal and figurative. “As we’ve grown older, our definition of ‘sisters’ has expanded to friends and colleagues—women who lift us up and help us believe that we are enough,” they write in an introductory note. As the story opens, a lonely girl eagerly awaits the birth of a sibling: “My wishing paid off;/ it was written in the stars;/ A new baby sister would/ soon be ours.” Reality sets in, though, once the infant arrives: “You cried and you ate, but not much more./ (My new baby sister was a bit of a snore).” As the baby matures, the two become inseparable, yet, in keeping with the authors’ message about the expansive nature of sisterhood, they also spend time cavorting with a diverse cluster of other girls. Kaulitzki (Badger’s Perfect Garden) crafts breezy, luminous mixed-media illustrations that capture the sisters’ mutual affection and playful flights of imagination. Though the verse’s rhythm and rhyme are sometimes strained, the story’s genuine sentiment shines through brightly. Ages 5–8. [em](Nov.) [/em]