________________ CM . . . . Volume XIX Number 26. . . .March 8, 2013


A Song for My Sister.

Lesley Simpson.
Illustrated by Tatjana Mai-Wyss.
New York, NY: Random House (Distributed in Canada by Random House Canada), 2012.
24 pp., hardcover, $18.99.
ISBN 978-1-58246-427-3.

Subject Headings:
Names, Personal-Fiction.
Family life-Fiction.

Preschool-grade 2 / Ages 3-7.

Review by Carla Epp.




"Her naming is tomorrow," Mom yelled over the screeching.
"What are we going to call her?"


"What about Thunder?" I yelled back.


A Song for My Sister, by Lesley Simpson, is the lovely story of seven-year-old Mira's journey to learning to bond with her newborn baby sister. The story also offers a glimpse into the Jewish traditions surrounding naming and welcoming baby girls into the world. At three, Mira makes a wish for a baby sister and not until she is almost seven-years-old does it come true. The reality of having a baby sister is maybe not as sweet as Mira has imagined though Her sister cries all the time, no matter what the family tries to do for her. Mira suggests naming her sister Thunder to account for all the crying. After eight days, it is time for the naming ceremony, and Mira is the only one able to make her sister stop crying, by singing to her. This event cements Mira's bond with her new sister and inspires the parents' choice of name for the baby.

      This story is a good read for younger children, particularly those that are having a hard time with the transition to having a new sibling. It shows that, although a new baby may be something desired, the reality may not be exactly as one expected. It also shows that, although the transition can be hard, having a new baby is fun, especially once you've found something to bond over. A Song for My Sister would be a good addition to most libraries. A universal story of siblings, it will likely be appreciated by most children, but especially those familiar with Jewish naming traditions and sibling pairs where both are girls.

      The story has moments of genuine humour (such as when Mira tries stuffing underwear in her ears to dull the noise) that parents and children will both enjoy. The illustrations look to be mostly painted and drawn, but in a few places photos of fabrics are imposed into the images (such as for curtains or rugs). It is interesting to search out the parts of the images that have been added. The illustrations are very colourful and create a world that looks loving and homey for this new baby. Portions of the family dog are also visible on almost every page, and searching out the pooch would make for a fun activity for children.

Highly Recommended.

Carla Epp is a librarian with Winnipeg Public Library in Winnipeg, MB.

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

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