CM . . .
. Volume XIX Number 33. . . .April 26, 2013
Annie and Simon.
Cambridge, MA: Candlewick Press (Represented in Canada by Random House of Canada), 2008.
57 pp., hardcover, $17.50.
Brothers and sisters-Fiction.
Preschool-grade 3 / Ages 4-8.
Review by Amber Allen.
Annie crawled into Hazel’s little house and pulled the door shut.
Simon crouched down. “Poor Annie. Can I see?”
Annie didn’t answer. She held her finger tight.
“Just stick your finger out a little bit, Annie,” said Simon.
Annie stuck her finger out a little bit.
“Aha,” said Simon. “Hold on.”
Simon got a box of baking soda and a cup of water from the kitchen. He made a little paste.
“Here, Annie. This will help.”
Catherine O’Neill has created a series of delightful stories about a brother and sister (and a playful dog) that get along as siblings should. Annie and Simon may be separated by age, but they genuinely enjoy each other’s company in these four adventurous stories. Whether out on the lake searching for a calling loon in “The Loon Hunt” or in the house considering Annie’s future career potential in “The Hairdo”, the two title characters always have fun together. Children will especially like trouble-making Hazel the dog as she makes herself known in every story.
The episodic style of this book means that the four chapters can be read in any order. This allows readers to easily return to their favourite story for a quick smile without reading the whole book. One especially strong feature of the collection is the realistic dialogue which makes up the majority of the writing. It is engaging to read the conversations between the two characters as emotions change and adventures continue.
The watercolour illustrations are colourful and eye-catching with a playful style that is perfectly matched to the text. Hazel, in particular, comes to life in the pages of illustrations as readers see her movement throughout the stories. It will be difficult for readers not to smile while experiencing the interactions between dramatic, easily sidetracked Annie, older brother Simon, and the loud Hazel. Annie and Simon is great for the child learning to read because it is simply written and focuses on activities that will be familiar to young children.
Amber Allen is a librarian in Toronto, ON, with a passion for children’s literature.
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