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Siblings Hardcover – November 1, 1998
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From School Library Journal
YA-Quindlen writes with her usual expertise on the subject of life with brothers and sisters. Kelsh's photographic vignettes effectively illuminate the essays. "The Baby" is prefaced with a full-page depiction of a tiny, befrilled, thoroughly feminine little girl surrounded by six older brothers, each outfitted in distinctive sports gear. "Super Sisters," "Irish Twins," and the opening "Siblings" are embellished with black-and-white photos that show the dynamics of human relationships within the home. Frustration, dependence, exasperation, and responsibility as experienced by both younger and older siblings in the seesaw of family life are all explored. Perhaps the negative encounters are the more ruefully revealing. Quindlen sums it up in a passionate statement featured in bold type, "Oh how I hated that little boy, and how I loved him, too." In "Super Sisters," she explores a family in which the oldest girl takes over the role of mother. Even middle schoolers can relate to the situations described, reflect upon their long-term effects, and enjoy a wistful and humorous sense of d?j? vu.
Frances Reiher, Fairfax County Public Library, VA
Copyright 1999 Reed Business Information, Inc.
The sequel to Naked Babies (1996) considers the longest intimate relationship most people ever know. Quindlen, who was a little off in the text for Naked Babies, grabs and holds with what she says about being brothers and sisters. As the eldest of five, who was pressed into service as what she calls a supersister when her mother died, she speaks with great authority, especially when she concludes that for siblings, "there is no ice to break." Kelsh's pictures are slightly less grabby this time, but then babies' appeal is aided by hardwired biology: part of being human is paying attention to them. These pictures' subjects--all (save two) preadolescent, from toddlers to preteens--are plenty cute, though, and Kelsh doesn't seem to have goosed anything out of them (more likely, they did that to one another). So all together the photos resemble the family snapshot album that a consummate professional might amass. But will Kelsh and Quindlen's next be Big, Hairy Teenagers? Ray Olson