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Me and My Sister

by Ruth Ohi

Now writing as well as illustrating, the prolific and award-winning Ruth Ohi presents a new picture book exploring the relationship between two young sisters. Inspired by Ohi’s own daughters, the two girls (who appear to be about two and four years old) romp through a busy day together. Ohi has captured the fleeting attention spans of kids this age, as they move from making cookies to the dress-up box to playing with dolls to eating dinner. Although the day unfolds with inevitable disagreements and injustices, all is resolved on the peaceful final page.

Ohi’s illustrations are indeed charming and effectively express the movements and moods of children, and anyone familiar with this age group will immediately recognize the actions and emotions of the little girls. Siblings of both genders will understand their passing frustrations with each other as well as their deep affection. Ohi’s warm, colourful palette has strong enough outlines to make the images distinct for the youngest viewers, but the overall effect remains gentle and fluid.

Ohi’s simple rhyming phrases (in oversize print) accompany the girls’ antics, but I was just getting into the rhythm when the book ended. A few more pages would have allowed us to get to know the girls better and enjoy Ohi’s art longer. As it is, the text is so brief that it’s a good thing her expressive illustrations carry the action on each page a little further.
This title is a good storytime choice for toddlers and preschoolers when presenting the themes of families or siblings, but it would be equally successful read quietly one-on-one. Me and My Sister and its endearing heroines will please Ruth Ohi’s many established fans.