The Youngest Sister by Suniyay Moreno and Mariana Chiesa. Translated by Elisa Amado. Greystone Kids, 2022. 9781771648752
Rating: 1-5 (5 is an excellent or a Starred review) 1
What did you like about the book?: In a remote village, Picu, the youngest sister of a large and extended family, is assigned the job of fetching the marrow bone from a neighbor. The children are assigned tasks to help out and Picu’s task involves a two hour walk one-way and she is told to be home by noon. But she gets distracted along the way by the scenery and the local animals. Two of the illustrations stand out, capturing attention; one depicting Picu getting the marrow bone from the neighbor and one showing grandmother Estanislada’s walking cane with a snake and donkey in the background.
Anything you didn’t like about it? I found this book very difficult to read. There is a translator’s note in the back of the book (better appreciated before the story) stating “The text, while in Spanish, is written as though it were spoken by this Argentinean Quechua community. The translation aims to respect the very special voice in which the story is told.” But the words are confusing and choking from the first page. Pronunciations in parenthesis would have helped some, as well as definitions as you read along (rather than at the end after you’ve muddled through). Also, my kids despised the fact that the family prepares and hangs the meat of the wild guinea pig Picu catches to air out (which we’ve read about in non-fiction books, but still strikes a hard chord), especially seeing “the mum” hang the skin to dry on one page. Unfortunately, other than the two listed above, most of the illustrations fall short.
To whom would you recommend this book? I cannot recommend this book
Who should buy this book? Public Libraries and Elementary Schools looking to enlarge their cultural collections
Where would you shelve it ? jFiction Picture books (possibly cultural)
Should we (librarians/readers) put this on the top of our “to read” piles? No
Reviewer’s Name, Library (or school), City and State: Vicky Tandy, Athol Public Library, Athol, MA
Date of review: June 22, 2022