________________ CM . . . . Volume XIV Number 21. . . .June 13, 2008


Rosie and Buttercup.

Chieri Uegaki. Illustrated by Stéphane Jorisch.
Toronto, ON: Kids Can Press, 2008.
32 pp., hardcover, $18.95.
ISBN 978-1-55337-997-3.

Subject Headings:
Sisters-Juvenile fiction.
Sibling rivalry-Juvenile fiction.

Preschool-grade 2 / Ages 3-7.

Review by Gregory Bryan.

***½ / 4



"Hi," she said, lifting Buttercup out of the stroller. "I brought you a present. Here."

"You're giving me Buttercup?"

"Yup," Rosie replied. "And for free."


Given that I have two young daughters of my own, in lots of ways I found that opening the new Kids Can Press picture book, Rosie and Buttercup, was like opening a door into my own home. As an only child, Rosie "was a girl who had everything." At first, her new baby sister enchants Rosie. As Rosie begins to see Buttercup's existence as being more and more of an intrusion into Rosie's ideal world, however, she starts to develop resentment toward her baby sister. "I don't want a baby sister," Rosie declares. Rosie decides to give her sister away to the baby sitter.

     Rather predictably, Rosie soon starts to miss her sister and concludes that, although life might not be perfect when one has a baby sister, life is better with one than without one. Despite the predictability of the outcome, the author, Chieri Uegaki, has done a fine job in capturing the tensions that can exist between two sisters. My own daughters' faces adopted very knowing looks when I shared this story with them. My oldest daughter, eight-year-old, Bronwyn (Rosie), even conceded the book made her feel a little guilty. I wonder how many times she has tried to give away her sister!

internal art       Stéphane Jorisch's delightful watercolour paintings are a great strength of Rosie and Buttercup. I cannot say that I am certain what animals Jorisch had in mind for the portrayal of Rosie and Buttercup, but they appear to me to be well-dressed hamsters or guinea pigs. Jorisch employs a predominantly cool colour palette featuring a liberal use of greens and blues. Even his warm colours are generally muted and soft. The result is illustrations that are appealing and easy on the eye.

      Rosie and Buttercup is a simple, yet entirely effective portrayal of sibling relationships. Such relationships can vacillate between moments of conflict and moments of tenderness, moments of contempt and moments of adoration. Uegaki and Jorisch's collaboration captures this mix of emotions in a realistic, engaging manner. Whether simply for purposes of entertainment, or for serious educational purposes—including that of conflict resolution—Rosie and Buttercup is a terrific book to have in the family library. For families that contain sisters, I highly recommended this book as a worthwhile purchase that readers will return to repeatedly.

Highly Recommended.

Gregory Bryan teaches in the Faculty of Education at the University of Manitoba. He lives in Winnipeg, MB, with two daughters who are often just like Rosie (Bronwyn) and Buttercup (Tegwen).

To comment on this title or this review, send mail to cm@umanitoba.ca.

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