On Big Sister, Little Sister

“Sisters, sisters, There were never such devoted sisters…” So begins the famous and funny Irving Berlin song, which plays on in my head as though someone jammed the repeat button whenever the word “sisters,” is thrown about. And anyone who has a sister knows how well Mr. Berlin captures the lovely and yet complicated relationship that is sisterhood. I myself have four sisters, and now have three daughters, so I know the dynamics well. Sisters share everything, which we simultaneously love (when we need something) and hate (when sister needs something). We look up to and admire each other, while also constantly competing with one another. Our sisters are our first friends, taking care of each other, while also trying desperately to create our own identities apart from one another. Complicated, no? In today’s pick for Perfect Picture Book Friday, LeUyen Pham has done a great job of representing it; the sometimes frustrating, yet ultimately wonderful bond of sisterhood.


  • Written and Illustrated By: LeUyen Pham
  • Published By: Hyperion (July 18, 2005)
  • Suitable For: Ages 4 and up
  • Topics/Themes: Family
  • Opening: “In this family, we have two sisters. She’s the big sister. I’m the little sister.”
  • Synopsis: (from jacketflap) The Big one gets new clothes. The Little one gets hand-me-downs. The Big one does everything first. The Little one is always catching up But the little one can do some things well, and can even teach the older one a thing or two…. Big sisters and little sisters alike will agree: this is a sassy and touching celebration of sisterhood for all ages.
  • Links to resources: The author has just the cutest page on her website dedicated to this book. There is a template to make paper dolls as well as some links to “sister” pictures that her fans have sent her. You could look at these “sister” pictures and then draw your own. You could also ask some follow-up questions after reading the story. “What do you like about being a big sister/little sister?” “What is hard about being a big sister/little sister?” One thing I like to do with my girls is have them sit in a circle and go around and say one thing that they appreciate about each other. It helps them focus on the positive things about having sisters, which is not always easy for them to see.
  • Why I Like this Book: The art in this book is definitely what drew me in. The sister characters are just so stinkin’ adorable. I mean, LOOK at that cover! Who could resist it? The text is spare, but she does a great job with the voice, and the interplay between the words and pictures is just perfect. If you have daughters, this would be a great choice for your bookshelf.

For more fun reads and links to helpful resources, please visit Perfect Picture Book Fridays at Susanna Leonard Hill’s amazing blog!

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  • http://susannahill.blogspot.com/ Susanna Leonard Hill

    This book sounds great, Amy!  It’s funny – I’m working my way down today’s PPB list.  This one is 5th on the list and the 3rd that’s dealt with sibling relationships so far!  Everyone was on the same wavelength apparently :)  I’m so glad, though, because this is such a bog part of so many kids’ lives, and like you say, siblings can have real love/hate going on, so helping kids learn to appreciate and deal with their sibs is so important.  I had’t heard of this book before – looking forward to finding and reading!

    • http://writingamillion.tumblr.com Amy Dixon

      That IS funny, Susanna! I have noticed that happen before on other PPB fridays with similar themes.

      • Tiltonph

        Amy, sounds like a wonderful big/little sister book.  I was the older sister, and I could identify with the book completely.    I don’t think we a book just about sisters on our list.  Great choice.

        • http://writingamillion.tumblr.com Amy Dixon

           Thanks, Pat! It is a sibling book kind of morning this PPB friday!

  • Tracybermeo

    I need to send this to my sister! There are way too many familiarities here. :)

    • http://writingamillion.tumblr.com Amy Dixon

      It really would be a sweet gift for adult sisters, too!

  • Kirsten Larson

    I can name that movie: “Winter Wonderland” my holiday favorite! This is a cute book. When my three-year-old actually realizes he only gets hand-me-downs, I’ll put it on our list. I don’t want him to figure it out too early.

    • http://writingamillion.tumblr.com Amy Dixon

       LOL, Kirsten, there is a page in the book about the little sister getting all the big sister’s clothes. Smart choice :-)

  • Penny Klostermann

    How adorable. This is a must read!

    • http://writingamillion.tumblr.com Amy Dixon

       adorable really is the right word, Penny!

  • http://www.flowering-minds.com/ Darshana

     Thank you for reviewing this book. Sounds perfect for my girls!

    • http://writingamillion.tumblr.com Amy Dixon

       Thanks so much for stopping by, Darshana!

  • http://www.bethstilborn.com/ Beth Stilborn

    Loved your intro to this! The book itself sounds wonderful — I have no sisters (or brothers) but throughout my life there have been friends whom I’ve declared to be sisters (or brothers). So an additional activity might be an only-child one, to have the only child think of someone she’d like to make an “honorary sister”, even with a certificate and a special just-the-two-of-them party.

    • http://www.bethstilborn.com/ Beth Stilborn

       P.S. For me it was always exciting to get “hand me downs” from a cousin or friend, because when I wore the clothes, I could pretend I had a sister for a while…

      • http://writingamillion.tumblr.com Amy Dixon

        aww, that is sweet, Beth! We always laugh because the younger sisters hated getting the hand-me-downs, and the oldest thought it wasn’t fair that she didn’t get any :-) the grass really is always greener, I guess!

    • http://writingamillion.tumblr.com Amy Dixon

       These are great suggestions, Beth! I love the idea of making someone an honorary sister.

  • patientdreamer

    Loved this book… I don’t have any sisters just two brothers, myself.  I remember always wanting a sister, someone I could have as a dear special friend. 

    • http://writingamillion.tumblr.com Amy Dixon

       Brothers are fun and special in their own way…I have two of those, too! Thanks for coming by, Diane!

  • Myra from GatheringBooks

    I have just recently reviewed Jacob Have I Loved by Katherine Paterson, a Newbery medal novel that I believe would be a great companion book to this lovely picture book that speaks about sisterhood and friendship. The parallels and the divergences and a thorough discussion on them would be wonderful at home and in the classroom. :) Thanks for sharing this.

    • http://writingamillion.tumblr.com Amy Dixon

       that is a great idea, Myra! Thanks for for stopping by.

  • http://twitter.com/ThisKid_Erik This Kid Reviews Bks

    I like the cover illustration! Great PPBF pick! Kind of sounds like me and my little sister (even though I’m a brother 😉 ).

    • http://writingamillion.tumblr.com Amy Dixon

      Thanks, Erik. I do think that there are lots of things that are probably similar in the brother/sister relationship, too.

  • http://twitter.com/viviankirkfield Vivian Kirkfield

    Amy, this is a wonderful book…I love the idea that the little sister can teach the big sister a thing or two.  It looks sweet and funny…that’s a great combination!  Love the resources also. :)

    • http://writingamillion.tumblr.com Amy Dixon

       Thanks, Vivian! I do love that this book shows there are positives to being both the big and little sister.

  • Smoki2

    The new site is beautiful. Crisp, clean, and easy to navigate.

    • http://writingamillion.tumblr.com Amy Dixon

       Thanks so much, Genevieve. So glad you stopped by!

  • http://stacysjensen.blogspot.com/ Stacy S. Jensen

    I love stinkin’ adorable stuff. I’m sharing this with a friend who has a four and 1 year old, too. I like the site too. I signed up for updates via email. 

    • http://writingamillion.tumblr.com Amy Dixon

       Stinkin’ adorable stuff IS hard to resist :-) Thanks for your comment on the site too, Stacy. It is a big change, but I like it!