Friday, May 24, 2013
Big Red Lollipop - Perfect Picture Book Friday
This review is part of PPBF (perfect picture book Friday) where bloggers share great picture books at Susanna Leonard Hill's site. She keeps an ever-growing list of Perfect Picture Books.
Sometimes a picture book takes your breath away. Sometimes, it's a quieter happy feeling. The Big Red Lollipop falls in the second camp. And it isn't really about a lollipop at all . . . . When I selected the book, I didn't know it was an award winner, but I learned that it won the 2011 Golden Kite Award for best picture book text, and the 2011 Charlotte Zolotow Award for best picture book text. I guess I'm a good judge of picture book character (and characters)!
Title: The Big Red Lollipop
Author: Rukhsana Khan
Illustrator: Sophie Blackall
Publisher: Viking, 2010
Synopsis: Rubina is invited to a birthday party. But her mom doesn't know what a birthday party is--it's new to her--and she insists that Rubina bring her little sister, Sana along. Sana spoils the party and Rubina's next day at home as well. "I don't get any invitations for a really long time." Then when the tables are turned, Rubina has to decide whether to put Sana through the same social humiliation.
Opening: I'm so excited I run all the way home from school. "Ami! I've been invited to a birthday party!"
What I enjoyed about the opening of this book is the subtle way the author tells the reader that the family are "outsiders." We don't know how long they have lived in America but the mother asks "What's a birthday party?" and Rubina answers "It's when THEY (emphasis added) celebrate the day they were born." This shows us that Rubina and her family aren't part of the world that celebrates birthdays without telling us specific details or even what nationality they are. It looks as though the mother is dressed in a traditional Salwaar Kameez and the back flap tells us that the author was born in Pakistan and then emigrated to Canada, but the story is satisfying without knowing this detail. The underlying emotions and tension between the two siblings are universal in nature.
Activities and Resources: After reading the story, talk about why Sana gave Rubina the green lollipop. The author has teacher's resources and a link to games for kids on her website. Watching this Youtube video, I learned that the author IS the younger sister in this story "Sana." As part of the "story-sharing project" you can watch Amanda Ferraro read the story.