Big Red Lollipop
Big Red Lollipop

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Annotation: Having to take her younger sister along the first time she is invited to a birthday party spoils Rubina's fun, and later when that sister is asked to a party and baby sister wants to come, Rubina must decide whether to help.
Catalog Number: #44672
Format: Perma-Bound Edition from Publisher's Hardcover
All Formats: Search
Common Core/STEAM: Common Core Common Core
Publisher: Penguin
Copyright Date: 2010
Edition Date: 2010
Illustrator: Blackall, Sophie,
Pages: 40
Availability: Available
ISBN: Publisher: 0-670-06287-1 Perma-Bound: 0-605-43953-2
ISBN 13: Publisher: 978-0-670-06287-4 Perma-Bound: 978-0-605-43953-5
Dewey: E
LCCN: 2009022676
Dimensions: 26 cm.
Language: English
Kirkus Reviews
Dynamic visual design distinguishes this tale of sibling conflict in an immigrant family. Running home from school, Rubina tells Ami (mom) the thrilling news of a birthday-party invitation. This concept's new to Ami, but the real problem is younger sister Sana, who demands to attend as well. Ami agrees. Pouting all the way, Rubina takes Sana, who not only disrupts the games but eats both her own and Rubina's big red lollipop party favor. Blackall's peppy watercolor-and-pencil illustrations hum with vibrancy and a wonderful sense of children in constant motion. Every page shows fresh composition and scale. When the justifiably resentful Rubina chases Sana around the house, the pair of wee figures shows up eight times on that spread, racing from spot to spot like Hilary Knight's Eloise. Then Sana receives an invitation herself and Ami almost makes her take even-younger sister Maryam along—but Rubina's intervention prevents that, and Sana brings Rubina a big green lollipop in gratitude. They're friends now, though it's unknown whether the invitations that Rubina stopped receiving due to Sana's antics ever recommence. Charming and spirited. (Picture book. 3-5)
School Library Journal
Gr 24 This sibling-rivalry story compares well with Kevin Henkes's Sheila Rae's Peppermint Stick (HarperCollins, 2001). When Rubina comes home with a birthday-party invitation, her mother asks why people celebrate birthdays, as her culture does not, and insists that Rubina take her little sister along despite the older child's insistence that "they don't do that here." Sana is a brat par excellence at the party and steals Rubina's candy. It's a long time before Rubina is invited to another one. Expert pacing takes readers to the day when Sana is invited to her first party. Whereas the embarrassing scenario could be repeated with the girls' younger sister, Rubina convinces her mother to reconsider, and Sana is allowed to go solo. The beauty of the muted tones and spareness of the illustrations allow readers to feel the small conflicts in the text. The stylistic scattering of East Indian motifs from bedspread designs to clothing communicate the cultural richness of the family's home life while the aerial views, especially the rooms through which the siblings chase each other, are priceless. The book is a thoughtful springboard for discussion of different birthday traditions and gorgeous to the eye. Sara Lissa Paulson, American Sign Language and English Lower School PS 347, New York City
Starred Review for Publishers Weekly

Khan (Silly Chicken) delivers another astute and moving story, ostensibly dealing with sibling rivalry, but actually about hard-won lessons emerging from clashes of identity and assimilation. When Rubina receives her first invitation to a birthday party, her mother, who readers are left to infer is an immigrant, is first perplexed (“What's a birthday party?... Why do they do that?”), then insistent that Rubina take her annoying younger sister along, even though Rubina pleads, “They don't do that here!” The result, in Khan's characteristically direct prose, is devastating: “I don't get any invitations for a really long time,” says Rubina, and Blackall's (Wombat Walkabout) subtly textured ink portrait shows every nuance of the girl's sense of social failure. But Khan's remarkable gift for balancing emotional honesty and empathy, and her keen understanding of family dynamics, keeps defeatism from swamping the book. Rubina turns her experience into wisdom and gains her mother's respect as a mediator between cultures. It's an ending worthy of a novella, and once again signals that Khan is one of the most original voices working in picture books today. Ages 4–up. (Mar.)

Starred Review ALA Booklist
*Starred Review* Siblings everywhere will see themselves in this story, even though it is rooted in the experience of an immigrant family. Rubina is invited to a birthday party, and her little sister Sana screams, I wanna go too! Their mother, Ami, insists that Sana be taken along, despite Rubina's vigorous protests, and the party turns out as badly as Rubina worries it will. To add insult to injury, after eating the lollipop in her goody bag, Sana almost finishes off Rubina's. When Sana comes home with her own invitation to a birthday party, their littlest sister wants to attend, and now it's Sana's turn to protest. But fair is fair, Ami decrees. In a clever turnaround, Rubina, though sorely tempted to let Sana suffer the embarrassment she did, persuades their mother to let Sana go alone. Khan is of Pakistani descent, and this tale of clashing cultural customs is based on an incident from her childhood. The story (and its lesson) comes to life in Blackall's spot-on illustrations, which focus on the family, their expressions, and body language. Though the sisters wear western clothes, Ami dresses in more traditional garb, a subtle reminder of how assimilation is transformed from generation to generation. At its heart, though, this is an honest, even moving, commentary on sisterly relationships, and the final rapprochement is as sweet as the lollipop Sana offers Rubina.
Word Count: 821
Reading Level: 2.2
Interest Level: K-3
Accelerated Reader: reading level: 2.2 / points: 0.5 / quiz: 134832 / grade: Lower Grades
Reading Counts!: reading level:1.4 / points:1.0 / quiz:Q48558
Lexile: AD490L
Guided Reading Level: K

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.

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