Monday, November 10, 2014

Review - Big Red Lollipop

Big Red Lollipop
by Rukhsana Khan
illustrated by Sophie Blackall
Date: 2010
Publisher: Viking Juvenile
Reading level: C
Book type: picture book
Pages: 40
Format: e-book
Source: We Give Books

Rubina has been invited to her first birthday party, and her mother, Ami, insists that she bring her little sister along. Rubina is mortified, but she can't convince Ami that you just don't bring your younger sister to your friend's party. So both girls go, and not only does Sana demand to win every game, but after the party she steals Rubina's prized party favor, a red lollipop. What's a fed-up big sister to do? Rukhsana Khan's clever story and Sophie Blackall's irresistible illustrations make for a powerful combination in this fresh and surprising picture book.

(synopsis from Goodreads)

This book actually made me really angry... so I guess it didn't really do what it was supposed to do.

I understand that the author is trying to show cultural differences here.  Ami just doesn't understand that you don't bring your bratty little sister to a birthday party when you're the one holding the invitation.  Unfortunately, there was little explanation as to why Ami thought that dragging a screaming brat to a friend's birthday party was acceptable.  Perhaps if there had been some discussion about party customs in Ami's culture, the book might have made more sense.  As it is, it's a story that's bound to frustrate and leave the reader wondering why Sana is allowed to act like a spoiled brat and get away with appalling behaviour, why Rubina is expected to put up with this and "share" (Ami's idea of "sharing" is to let Sana have whatever she wants, even if it belongs to someone else), and why, years later, Ami so quickly changes her mind about forcing Sana to take her little sister to a party after only a few words from Rubina.

The premise was good, and it's nice to see more multicultural children's books, but even the cute illustrations weren't enough make this one I'd wholeheartedly recommend.  I was pretty disappointed.

Quotable moment:

The worst thing is that all the girls at school know if they invite me to their birthday parties, I have to bring Sana.

I don't get any invitations for a really long time.

Recommended to: young children with parents who understand enough about cultural differences to explain why Rubina's mother acts the way she does

Premise: 2/5
Meter: n/a
Writing: 3/5
Illustrations: 4/5
Originality: 3/5

Enjoyment: 1/5

Overall: 2.33 out of 5

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