Dear Sister

Alison McGhee, illus. by Joe Bluhm. Atheneum/Dlouhy, $13.99 (192p) ISBN 978-1-4814-5142-0

Letters, drawings, and homemade coupons form this epistolary accounting of two siblings’ young life together, a portrait of frustration and love that spans 10 years: from the birth of Sister to her 10th year, when her brother departs for college. The missives Brother sends reveal his feelings—notes their parents (“the wardens”) make him pen, apologies (also forced), and sibling progress reports (“Whininess: Excellent”). Initially, Sister is an annoyance (she cries, insists Brother read a book for the “763rd time,” fails to respect restroom privacy). But affection grows between them, and amusement and tenderness come through in the letters’ postscripts (from a note to camp: “PS: I miss you, too”). Drawings by Bluhm complement the handwritten text, mimicking the boy’s sketches and the way they change over time. The authentic sibling relationship may border on nostalgia, but it offers a meaningful look at one of life’s realities: sibling-hood and all its foibles. Final art not seen by PW. Ages 10–up. [em]Author’s agent: Sara Crowe, Pippin Properties. Illustrator’s agent: Larissa Helena, Pippin Properties. (Oct.) [/em]