Home > Mock Caldecott 2011 > Big Red Lollipop written by Rukhsana Khan and Illustrated by Sophie Blackall

Big Red Lollipop written by Rukhsana Khan and Illustrated by Sophie Blackall

Publication Date: March 4, 2010
Reviewed For: Grades 2 – 4

Journal Review / Summary This sibling-rivalry story compares well with Kevin Henkes’s Sheila Rae’s Peppermint Stick (HarperCollins, 2001). When Rubina comes home with a birthday-party invitation, her mother asks why people celebrate birthdays, as her culture does not, and insists that Rubina take her little sister along despite the older child’s insistence that “they don’t do that here.” Sana is a brat par excellence at the party and steals Rubina’s candy. It’s a long time before Rubina is invited to another one. Expert pacing takes readers to the day when Sana is invited to her first party. Whereas the embarrassing scenario could be repeated with the girls’ younger sister, Rubina convinces her mother to reconsider, and Sana is allowed to go solo. The beauty of the muted tones and spareness of the illustrations allow readers to feel the small conflicts in the text. The stylistic scattering of East Indian motifs from bedspread designs to clothing communicate the cultural richness of the family’s home life while the aerial views, especially the rooms through which the siblings chase each other, are priceless. The book is a thoughtful springboard for discussion of different birthday traditions and gorgeous to the eye. –SLJ

Illustration Medium: Cannot find.

Initial Thoughts:
Flipping through the look, it looks kinda meh as far as layout of the illustrations with the text.

Execution in the artistic technique employed:
Don’t know the technique.

Appropriateness of style of illustration to story, theme, and concept:
I would have liked to see a more Indian illustration style to celebrate the cultural story – the illustration style doesn’t seem to me to be very poignant as far as the theme of the book.

Delineation/interpretation of a plot through illustration:
The drawings are very simple – just like the plot.

Delineation/interpretation of a theme or concept through illustration:
The flatness of the illustrations, I think due to the medium chosen, detracts from this.

Delineation of characters through illustration:
The mother’s decision to make Rubina take her sister Sana to the birthday party as well as “the stylistic scattering of East Indian motifs from bedspread designs to communicate the cultural richness of the family’s home” (SLJ).

Delineation of setting through illustration:
There isn’t much of a setting; the drawings are very simple – just the people on solid color backgrounds for the majority of the pages.  The “chase scene” is great. Very different perspective.

Delineation of mood through illustration:
Because there isn’t really much complexity to the pages, mood is based entirely upon the expressions and body language of the characters in the story.  These expressions are somewhat flat and muted, but are still strong.  The aerial views convey the rage Rubina has toward her sister as she chases her, and the excitement of coming home with a birthday invitation.

Delineation of information through illustration:
Not applicable.

Concluding Caldecott Thoughts:
I was not very impressed with this book.

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