Whatever Happened to My Sister?

Simona Ciraolo. Nobrow/Flying Eye (Consortium, dist.), $17.95 (40p) ISBN 978-1-909263-52-9
As Ciraolo’s second picture book opens, a girl in a blue playsuit is looking at her family photo album. “I’d had my suspicions for a while,” she says, ”that someone had replaced my sister with a girl who looked a lot like her.” The next spread shows her frowning as her lithe preteen sibling reaches into a cupboard: “My sister was never so tall. Did it happen overnight?” The younger sister continues to struggle against the inevitable as the older girl, absorbed in music and a possible crush, says “No” to offers of all their old shared amusements. The more the younger sister considers the transformation, the sadder she grows—until, at her lowest, her sister emerges from her room and offers a new kind of fun. Ciraolo (Hug Me) handles soft crayon with practiced (not to mention fashion-magazine-worthy) skill, drawing domestic scenes and clothing in a palette of warm grays and olives, accented with vivid orange. The advent of adolescence in an older sibling is a less common theme for a picture book, and Ciraolo treats it with style and charm. Ages 5–up. (Nov)
Reviewed on: 08/24/2015
Release date: 11/01/2015
Genre: Children's
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