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Sassy: Little Sister is Not My Name!

Review

Sassy: Little Sister is Not My Name!

Sassy Simone Sanford is only nine years old, but that doesn't stop her from resenting the fact that her glamorous 16-year-old sister Sadora and her chowhound 12-year-old brother Savin call her "Little Sister." Even her parents are guilty of this. The reality is that she is little --- teeny-tiny to be exact.

Sassy lives up to her real name. She has to wear a boring blue and white uniform to school but jazzes herself up with glitter polish, shiny lip gloss and her fabulous, magical Sassy Sack. Her grandmother made the handbag especially for her. It's shimmery-shiny and sparkly, all purple, silver, pink and magenta, with buttons, compartments and zippers galore. Sassy keeps that bag filled. She not only has items you might expect a fourth-grade girl to carry, such as stickers and hair doo-dads, lotion and nail polish, she also stocks the Sassy Sack with the most unexpected objects --- things that just seem to come in handy during the most unusual circumstances.

The other characters in the story don't quite fit the expected mold and are all the better for it. Sassy's dad is a teacher who loves his wife's cooking a bit too much, her mother is an executive who works in a very fancy office building, and her grandmother is a famous storyteller who has performed in Africa and the White House.

Sassy has tons of friends; she entertains them by telling how it would be if she were in charge of the school dress code and other items of school business. Mondays would be strawberry days, for example. Everyone would wear pink (boys, too!). Each student would get pink bubble gum for the mandatory bubble-blowing contest. The cafeteria would serve up strawberry jelly doughnuts and pink lemonade.

School is the source of adventures that are relayed with great good humor. When a boy gets his head stuck in his chair, a student who wants to be a nurse covers the back half of him with his jacket. Sassy confides that poor Travis "looks like a horse with a blanket on his back, ready to go to the barn." She pulls a few goodies out of her bottomless Sassy Sack to soothe the victim, sharing some tropical fruit Lifesavers and cooling him down with a small battery-run fan. And when her teacher's camera runs out of film, Sassy pulls out a disposable camera. The book's eventual culminating adventure involves Sassy's family and is the perfect, fitting climax to her story.

It is such a refreshing delight to read of an angstless girl with many friends and a warm and loving family. Sassy has major attitude, but it's never of the mean-girl variety. She has lots of self-confidence and an inviting, upbeat personality --- and yet she manages to be a complex, fully-formed character who tells a good story. Sassy has some insights on adults that are hilarious and right-on (for example, her utter scorn that her mother believes fourth-grade girls are too young to be interested in boys). Her Sassy Sack is a great nearly/definitely/maybe/almost magical embellishment on the order of Mary Poppins's carpet bag. Whether it is magical or not, her story most definitely is.

Reviewed by Terry Miller Shannon on January 1, 2010

Sassy: Little Sister is Not My Name!
by Sharon M. Draper

  • Publication Date: January 1, 2010
  • Mass Market Paperback: 112 pages
  • Publisher: Scholastic Paperbacks
  • ISBN-10: 0545071550
  • ISBN-13: 9780545071550