Little Sister is NOT My Name! (Sassy #1) by Sharon M. Draper (Scholastic Press, 2009, 102pp.)
Nine-year-old, pint-sized Sassy has big problems. As the youngest (and smallest) of three children, she is so short that she can’t reach things on high shelves without difficulty. Not only that, but her well-meaning family can’t seem to remember how much she hates the nickname “Little Sister.” It is only after her family is stuck in an elevator between floors, and she is the only one small enough to slip through the doors to go for help, that she feels that she has proved her worth. Yet Draper’s otherwise admirable attempt to buoy the self-image of vertically challenged children is sadly undermined by the glittery, brand-naming gusto of its own protagonist. Armed with her fashionably decorated “Sassy Sack,” a combination backpack/emergency kit that seems to contain everything but a cardiac defibrillator, the self-assured Sassy wins the respect of both teachers and classmates for always having the right supplies at the right time. With more fashion-sense and admirers than the average third-grader, Sassy has little else to recommend her to the position of underdog. Nevertheless, the “wish-fulfillment” quality of the story, bound in a sparkly cover that features its protagonist flanked by her culturally diverse array of friends, should appeal to most nine-year-old girls. Recommended for Ages 9-12.
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