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Library ed. ISBN 978-0-553-50880-2 $20.99
Trade ed. ISBN 978-0-553-50879-6 $17.99
Reviewed from galleys R 4-7 yrs
According to this poetic picture book, a ramshackle cottage deep in the woods houses a legendary little girl known only as Wee Sister Strange. The shadows lengthen into evening, and Wee Sister Strange climbs from her window and ventures into the blue-black forest. Under bare trees with only a few golden leaves clinging to them, she hoots and moans with the owls, tames a wild bear, climbs the highest tree and dives into the bog, until she finally finds what she’s looking for: light coming from a bedroom window. Inside, a little girl and her mother are reading this very book (“And there’s you in your bed/With this book ’neath your nose!”); Wee Sister Strange curls up under the window and falls asleep listening to the rhythmic poetry of her own story. The forest comes to gorgeous, eerie life in Campbell’s colored pencil and watercolor illustrations through which Wee Sister Strange roams, her patched dress fluttering and a crown of autumn leaves and flowers in her hair. Contrasting yellow and red hues bring warmth to the final pages as she peers into her reader’s window, and a little dog looks out at her in humorous consternation as both girls drift into dreamland. This beautifully spooky bedtime tale is perfect for Halloween and those who suspect their favorite stories of having lives outside the book.