________________ CM . . . . Volume XII Number 6 . . . . November 10, 2005


My Sister Gracie.

Gillian Johnson.
Toronto, ON: Tundra, 2000/2005.
32 pp., pbk. & cl., $9.99 (pbk.), $17.99 (cl.).
ISBN 0-88776-750-8 (pbk.), ISBN 0-88776-514-9 (cl.).

Subject Headings:
Dogs-Juvenile fiction.
Brothers and sisters-Juvenile fiction.

Preschool-grade 1 / Ages 3-6.

Review by Catherine Hoyt.

**** /4



He dreamed of a baby thoroughbred.

He'd take his brother To the park. They'd sniff the world Till it was dark.

They'd share his bone, They'd toss the ball, They'd chew the rug,

They'd do it all.


This charming tale starts like many children's favourites do, with "Once upon a time" and goes on to explain that there was a dog, Fabio, who in many ways had it all. But Fabio was sad because he wanted a brother, and so the family decided to get him a friend. Fabio told all the dogs in the neighborhood that he was getting a brother. Imagine his surprise when he got a sister from the pound. Gracie wasn't exactly what Fabio had in mind. Gracie's idea of a good time was lying around sleeping all day. She was not at all interested in touring the park, chasing balls or chewing the rug. All she wanted to do was receive a hug. The family, however, fawned over the new addition, and Fabio, feeling left out, hatched a little plan which involved his luring Gracie out for a walk and then telling her to go back to the pound. When Fabio's dog friends arrive and start to tease and taunt Fabio and then to call Gracie names, causing her to cry, Fabio stands up for his new sister, and they go off on their own little adventure, sniffing “the world till it was dark."

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Johnson's delightful rhyming text makes this an enjoyable read aloud choice. Children with new siblings may be able to relate to this story, especially if they were a little "disappointed" by the new arrival. As well, the added moral of the story, that siblings need to stick up for each other, will not be lost on older children. The author/illustrator's watercolour illustrations are complementary to the story. The illustrations are colourful and detailed enough to attract young readers. My favourite illustration is that of Fabio fast asleep on his bed dreaming about all the fun he'll have with his new brother.

          My Sister Gracie is a recommended purchase for public and school libraries. This amusing tale would make a terrific gift for young readers who are expecting a new addition to the family or for siblings of any age. Originally released in 2000, this touching story is now available in paperback. Fans of this canine pair will not be disappointed. The second installment for this duo, Gracie's Baby Chub Chop, is already available. I will be watching for their next adventure.


Highly Recommended.

Catherine Hoyt has returned from maternity leave and is now the Acting Head of Public Services for New Brunswick Public Library Service.


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

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