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Big Red Lollipop Hardcover – March 4, 2010

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Editorial Reviews

From School Library Journal

Grade 2–4—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
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From 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. Preschool-Grade 2. --Ilene Cooper

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Product Details

  • Age Range: 4 - 8 years
  • Grade Level: Preschool - 3
  • Lexile Measure: 410L (What's this?)
  • Hardcover: 40 pages
  • Publisher: Viking Books for Young Readers (March 4, 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0670062871
  • ISBN-13: 978-0670062874
  • Product Dimensions: 8.4 x 0.4 x 10.3 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 12 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (23 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #80,677 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

20 of 21 people found the following review helpful By E. R. Bird HALL OF FAMETOP 500 REVIEWER on May 13, 2010
Format: Hardcover
Yeah, I have a little sister. Have since I was six. And like most older siblings I had the usual older sis/younger sis relationship with her you might imagine. We older siblings get a lot of innate perks, being the first and all, but when you're a kid you have a tendency to only notice the problems. Little sisters want to go everywhere with their older sibs. That's just the nature of the game. What author Rukhsana Khan has done with her newest picture book "Big Red Lollipop" is tell a new story of little sis/big sis woes with a twist that'll knock young readers' socks off. It doesn't matter if a kid is an older sibling, younger sibling, or only child. This book packs a wallop, in part because of the art of Sophie Blackall, and in part because Khan has given us one of the best stories about forgiveness I've read in a very long time.

What a nightmare! When Rubina ran home one day to tell her mother than she was invited to a birthday party, she couldn't believe it when her Ami told her she had to make sure her little sister Sana was invited too. And not only does her little sister pitch a fit when she doesn't win all the games at that party, but she eats all the candy in her goody bag right away. Rubina's a more patient type. She saves her own big red lollipop on the top shelf of the fridge so that she'll be able to eat it first thing the next day. Imagine her horror then when Sana eats HER lollipop too! And her mother doesn't even take Rubina's side! A couple years later, Sana gets invited to a birthday party of her own and is shocked when her mother says she has to bring HER younger sister Maryam along. Rubina could say nothing and let Sana get what's coming to her, but instead she tells their Ami to let Sana go by herself. Ami agrees.
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Format: Hardcover
Rubina was sooooo excited that she had been invited to a birthday party she ran all the way home from school to tell her Ami about it. She had the invitation in her hand and her eyes glistened when her Ami asked, "What's a birthday party?" Ami listened as she fed their youngest sister, Maryam. Rubina's sister, Sana, started to wail and pout, "I wanna go too!" For goodness sake, this was NOT something you took your little sister to. It was embarrassing, but she was just going to have to call Sally up and ask if the little pest could go.

It was an embarrassment, a total one. Sana pitched a fit when she fell down when they were playing musical chairs and had to "win all the games." They did get some nice little party favors, including a big red lollipop. Rubina was going to save hers for later, but her sister "didn't know how to make things last." She was going to savor hers in the morning, but when she got up you know who had eaten it down to a little triangle. "SANA!" Needless to say, Rubina wasn't going to be a party girl for a long time because she was stuck with her little sister. Then one day Sana came home with an invitation. Her eyes glistened as she asked Ami if she could go. All of a sudden Maryam began to scream, "I wanna go to!" Waaaaaaaah!

This is an adorable story of sibling rivalry that will not only tickle your youngster's funny bone, but also yours. Anyone who has two or more children will chuckle when the girls spat, demanding that they have been direly wronged by her sister. The artwork captures the little nuances of jealousy, anger, frustration, and ultimately the love shared by the girls. If you've ever experienced the "crisis" of children disagreeing with each another, you'll get a big kick out of Rubina, Sana, and Maryam!
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Praha on April 22, 2014
Format: Hardcover
You will get the book if you are familiar with the South Asian culture. The author could have written a commentary on that a little bit so
reader's not familiar with the cultural difference are not condemning the mother for thinking the way she does. I wouldn't read this book to my daughter again (who is 4 yrs ) because it can get confusing to young minds ...she wondered why the Mom is not correcting the Sana and allowing her to get away with the tantrums. It also makes assumptions that if you took your sister you will not be invited to parties which is not the case. I never write reviews but felt compelled to do it for this book.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Sonia Ansari on September 26, 2014
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
This is a wonderful story about a Pakistani family living in the West and the children, especially eldest sister, Rubina, navigating cultural differences with their traditional mother. I can't count how many times my four year old daughter asked us to read her this book. The story is a pitch perfect account of the dynamics in an immigrant household. Rubina is so excited about getting an invitation to a birthday party that she runs all the way home from school. When she asks her mom if she can go, her little sister, Sana, screams that she wants to go to. Their mother says it's okay for Rubina to go to the party as long as she takes Sana. Rubina pleads with her mom that that's not how things are done here but her mom stays firm. So Rubina calls her friend, Sally, and asks if she can bring Sana. Sally says it's fine but Rubina is sure that Sally thinks she's weird. Rubina takes Sana to the party. Sana has to win all the games and cries like a baby when she falls down during musical chairs. Before they leave the party, Rubina and Sana get goodie bags with various treats inside, including a big red lollipop. Sana eats her big red lollipop in the car on the way home while Rubina puts hers in the fridge to eat the next morning. The next morning when Rubina goes to the fridge, she finds that all that's left of her lollipop is "a triangle stuck to a stick." She knows Sana ate her lollipop and chases after her. Their mom comes out and chastises Rubina for going after her little sister. Rubina complains that Sana ate her lollipop. Her mother says, "For shame! It's just a lollipop. Can't you share with your little sister?" Rubina wants to cry but holds back her tears.Read more ›
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