Parents' Choice Foundation: Reviewing Children's Media Since 1978

Parents' Choice Awards : Books : Picture Books
Sourpuss and Sweetie Pie

Sourpuss and Sweetie Pie

Fall 2008 Picture Books
Ages: 2 & Up
Author: Norton Juster
Author: Chris Raschka
Publisher: Scholastic
ISBN: 978-0-439-92943-1
Hardcover Price: $16.95
Nanna, Poppy and their granddaughter, whose first foray into the world of children's literature earned them the Caldecott medal (The Hello, Goodbye Window, Scholastic/Michael di Capua, 2005), return with another slice of intergenerational life. Once again narrated in the every-child voice of the granddaughter, this second installment recounts the chameleon-like ability of the very young to change from sunshine to thunder in the blink of an eye. "When I come to Nanna and Poppy's house, Poppy always looks out and says, 'Who is it, Sourpuss or Sweetie Pie?'" It's a mystery to everyone, especially children, how emotions work as well as how to govern and express them. Juster stays true to a child's point of view...though the voice sometimes seems a little too self-aware for a young girl in the throes of all the emotions covered in a few slim pages: pride, anger, hurt, loneliness, defiance etc. Raschka's signature child-like scribble-icious drawings once again mimic the child's-eye viewpoint of the text as they vary from single page to vignette (the centerpiece is an expressive series of postures accompanying such lines as "NO NO NO NO NO NO NO NO NO I WON'T DO IT! NEVER NEVER NEVER NEVER) to the final double page spreads that show, not a single child, but two children who are identical save for the expressions on their faces.
Kristi Elle Jemtegaard   ©2008 Parents' Choice
Kristi Elle Jemtegaard is the Coordinator of Youth Services for the Arlington Public Library system. She has taught courses on children’s and young adult literature at the Catholic University of America and the University of Virginia. She has served on both the Newbery and Caldecott Award Committees of the American Library Association and has chaired the Notable Children’s Recordings Committee and the May Hill Arbuthnot Award Committee. She is a member and past president of the Children’s Book Guild of Washington DC and has chaired the Washington Post–Book Guild Nonfiction Award Committee. She is a founding member of Capitol Choices, an organization of professionals in the field of children’s literature in the greater Washington DC area. She regularly reviews children’s literature and audio productions for a variety of national publications.

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