cover image Dee Dee and Me

Dee Dee and Me

Amy Schwartz. Holiday House, $16.95 (32p) ISBN 978-0-8234-2524-2

Hannah’s sister, Dee Dee, is older and taller, and she bullies Hannah with impunity, appropriating her belongings and literally treating her like the help during pretend play (“Butsy, that will be all”). But within every wimp beats someone yearning to control her own destiny, and by book’s end, Hannah has found the steel in her spine, discovered that she doesn’t need Dee Dee to have a good time (“I played jacks. No one hogged the ball. I won every game”), and rebalanced the power in the relationship. She does so without being mean, losing Dee Dee’s affection (which clearly means a great deal to her), or involving a single grownup. Schwartz (Lucy Can’t Sleep), a master of restraint and insight, scores again with this story, a thinly veiled and smart lesson for any kid who feels put upon by someone older and bigger. Schwartz doesn’t need to give her heroine a Big Moment; with economical yet deeply empathic prose and carefully inked scenes of family life, the author tells readers all they need to know about Hannah’s turmoil and triumph. Ages 4–8. (Oct.)