cover image Little Sister for Sale

Little Sister for Sale

Morse Hamilton. Dutton Books, $13 (320pp) ISBN 978-0-525-65078-2

Hamilton ( Effie's House ) offers an inventive twist on a familiar theme: a younger sister is driving an older sister crazy. Impish Abby has chopped off Kate's doll's braid, decimated the strawberries and even used Kate's toothbrush. To solve her problem, Kate sets up an old lemonade stand and alters the sign to advertise her merchandise--a little sister. When a neighbor purchases Abby for a quarter, Kate gleefully clears all of her sister's belongings from their bedroom. What happens next will surprise no one: Kate has second thoughts and buys back Abby. What this story lacks in plausibility and dramatic conflict, it makes up for in its humorous, hyperbolic solution to a recognizable problem. Young readers are not likely to be bothered by the fact that the girls' father, typing away upstairs, is oblivious to these goings-on. Instead, they will be amused by Kate's ingenuity and by Fiammenghi's spirited renditions of the sisters, whose facial expressions alone will elicit smiles. Ages 4-8. (Feb.)