Friday, May 10, 2019

Dear Sister by Alison McGhee, illustrated by Joe Bluhm

A boy writes letters to his sister from the time she is a baby until he leaves for college. They start out as crude charcoal drawings, complaining about the sister being whiny, stinky, and loud; a typical baby. The two grow together, weathering arguments and illnesses, life changes and new challenges. Finally, the story ends with the brother leaving his sister all the letters he's written her and permission to use his treehouse as he sets out on his new adventure in skillful line drawings in black and blue shades.

The art is the main attraction of this story. From scribbly drawings of an annoying baby sister to "progress reports" on her whining abilities, to two exasperated tween boys stuck with a lively sister and her best friend at the movie theater, the art conveys the annoyance and exasperation as well as the growing affection between the siblings.

Verdict: This is a quick read with lots of pictures, it's humorous and touching, but ultimately it felt more like something that an adult would pick up than a child. It has a nostalgic flavor for the joys and sorrows of childhood and the bond of siblings that most kids won't appreciate until they are leaving home probably. Still, it's a sweet story and the heavy illustrations may appeal to some readers.

ISBN: 9781481451420; Published October 2018 by Atheneum; Borrowed from another library in my consortium

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