cover image Sisters


Tricia Tusa. Alfred A. Knopf Books for Young Readers, $15 (1pp) ISBN 978-0-517-70032-7

Siblings of all ages quarrel about petty matters, stop speaking to each other and gradually make up--just like the stubborn twosome in this slapstick picture book. Lucy and Eeda are adults behaving in childish fashion over an artichoke: ``Lucy thought it should be boiled. Eeda wanted it baked. It turned out hard and was impossible to eat.'' What follows is a mad game of one-upmanship as the sly sisters surprise and amuse each other by leaving the petrified artichoke in unlikely places. When at last they let bygones be bygones, they decide to rearrange their furniture--and immediately begin arguing all over again. Tusa (The Family Reunion; Maebelle's Suitcase) understands family dynamics, and the spinster-aunt roommates, with their bifocals and gray hair, are great comic foils for these nursery-room-style goings-on. A pinkish-gold light suffuses every scene of these captivating, hazy illustrations, and is given weight by deeper hues of brown, olive and teal; dim pencil outlines are barely visible amid the blended colors. Sneaky grins, beaky noses and shifty eyes lend these sisters a kitschy but impish appeal. Ages 4-8. (Nov.)