Thursday, February 08, 2007


THE LEMON SISTERS by Andrea Cheng, illustrated by Tatjana Mai-Wyss (Putnam)

In Chicago right now, we are in a deep freeze with windchills of 15 below, but hey, we're not complaining! We have our books to keep us warm!

In the spirit of "when life gives you lemons, make lemonade," (what a lovely, summery thought!) we have this delightful intergenerational story of an elderly woman whose memories of childhood come flooding back while watching through her window at three sisters ("Red Hat, Blue Hat and Yellow Hat") making snow angels. Little does our nostalgic onlooker know, brrrr-thday surprises are being planned in her honor, both by her new young friends and by her more wizened contemporaries, complete with snow thrones and lemon ice (a simple rebus recipe is on the endpapers). Full of busy action and thoughtful detail, brightly colored patterns in subtle multimedia collage give each picture an unusual texture, expressive depth and cheerfulness; it's a stand-out style deserving of closer inspection, and offers a pleasure that weathers repeated readings. This story is an example of a satisfying picture book that achieves what it sets out to do, perfectly capturing both the cold and the warmth of a fun, freezing day. You'll want sisters and friends like the ones in this book! (5 and up)

Also of interest:
THE BIGGEST, BEST SNOWMAN by Margery Cuyler, illustrated by Will Hillenbrand (Scholastic) Big Mama, Big Sarah and Big Nell are less than supportive when it comes to including little Nell, but she shows them all when she and her animal friends are able to pull together a snowman that requires a double-page spread. Little children will be fortified by the "you can do it!" message, and the spirit of cooperation grows and grows with the rolling of every snowball. (4 and up)

Links are provided for informational use. Don't forget to support your local bookseller.

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