cover image DON'T LET THE PEAS TOUCH!: And Other Stories

DON'T LET THE PEAS TOUCH!: And Other Stories

Deborah Blumenthal, , illus. by Timothy Basil Ering. . Scholastic/Levine, $15.95 (0pp) ISBN 978-0-439-29732-5

Three brief tales of two sisters add up to one warm and wise picture book. Annie and her younger sister, Sophie, are as different as can be. Annie loves to cook and try new foods while Sophie is a picky eater who doesn't like any of the foods on her plate to touch. Though Annie likes to take quiet time to read, Sophie has trouble keeping things at a whisper. And Annie is old enough to be keeper of the family pet, but Sophie's pleadings to get another household critter largely fall on deaf ears. As readers get to know these energetic girls, they'll likely relate to the universal themes here: sibling rivalry, age-appropriate responsibility and good old-fashioned, bratty bickering. Through it all, though, Blumenthal (Aunt Claire's Yellow Beehive Hair ) sounds a realistic, reassuring note in the form of supportive, if sometimes exasperated, parents, and sisters who eventually learn to compromise while showing flashes of their love and concern for one another. Ering's (The Tale of Despereaux ) mixed-media art featuring bright acrylics, ink and pencil, have zing. Sophie's fiery red locks and attention-getting antics make her a natural focal point—and a memorable interruption in the everyday rhythms of a typical family's routine. Ages 4-8. (Oct.)