You're Mean, Lily Jean!

K-Gr 3—Sandy has always played with her younger sister, Carly, until Lily Jean, in her puffy red skirt and shiny red shoes, moves next door. With her considerable talents—playing the xylophone and drums, skating backward, and standing on her head—she is quite a presence, and Sandy seems to fall under her spell. Carly wants to play make-believe with the older girls, but not the demeaning roles Lily Jean gives her. When they play king and queen, she reluctantly becomes the dog, walking on four legs, crouching under the picnic table, and running off with Lily Jean's red shoe. In the mayhem that follows, Sandy stands up for her little sister and abandons Lily Jean, who is now willing to be anything, even nice, to play with the siblings. Illustrations are ink drawings, painted with watercolors and finished with oil and gouache accents. The three girls occupy most spreads, acting out their various roles in their backyard. Their movements are fanciful, and their faces are expressive. They play as real children do and work out their difficulties with both whimsy and humor. Simple yet natural dialogue makes this engaging tale a good choice for independent readers and as a read-aloud.—Mary Jean Smith, Southside Elementary School, Lebanon, TN
Sisters Carly and Sandy love playing pretend. New neighbor Lily Jean loves acting out roles, too, always as the boss. When Carly gets tired of her lesser parts, she turns the game on its head in a creative and humorous way. Big-sis Sandy's selflessness, while a little bit idealized, is also rewarding. Denton's pencil and watercolor illustrations represent the girls' imaginings well.

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