Review: Five Sisters

Five Sisters
Author: Stephanie Campisi
Illustrator: Madalina Andronic
Ages: 3 to 8 years old

Reminiscent in tone of an old folktale, the lonely, yet loving couple are rewarded for their compassionate concern for their environment . . . .

My mother was in St. Petersburg when my youngest daughter was born. She had been in the delivery room for both the births of Lucy’s older siblings; but, although I tried to wait, (really!) my mother arrived home a day after Lucy was born.

One of the souvenirs she brought from St. Petersburg for us was a set of Matryoshka dolls, who now sit on my nearly teenaged daughter’s bookshelf, surveying their kingdom. As their loyal subjects, it’s no surprise that both Lucy and I were immediately drawn to this delightful story of five nesting dolls that enrich the lives of a childless couple. 

Five Sisters is a gorgeously illustrated and carefully written picture book that tells the tale of an old man and woman who care for the woods as tenderly as they would care for the children they so desperately wish they had. Buoyed with stunning illustrations by Andronic that recall dark Siberian forests and colorful Russian sarafan dresses, Campisi’s prose shines often as brightly as the images themselves:

With kindly trowels, they had tended the pines, shaped the spruce spires and coaxed the great oaks from beneath acorn caps.

Reminiscent in tone of an old folktale, the lonely, yet loving couple are rewarded for their compassionate concern for their environment with a silver bough, from which the old man carves five nesting dolls, or Matryoshka. The old woman is delighted with his gift, and the now happy, though unconventional family, enjoy the beauty of the changing seasons in the forest.

Danger lurks nearby however, and astute readers will enjoy spotting the threat to the couples’ happiness peeking through the trees on nearly every page.

Rest assured however, like all good fairy tales, evil is vanquished, good triumphs, and everyone lives happily ever after. Readers and listeners alike of this charming story will share in the family’s happiness upon turning the last page of this darling book–Lucy and I certainly did!

Five Sisters (Support an Independent Bookstore)
Five Sisters (Hardcover at Amazon)*

More books for this Age Group can be found here.

My thanks to Familius for providing a Review Copy of this book. All opinions provided herein are my own.

Please, leave comments! I love a HEALTHY exchange of ideas. After all, critical thinking is essential to life.

Emma GilletteContributor
Emma has been, variously, a dancer, a singer, a lawyer, a writer, and a teacher. However her best job remains mom. She has a variety of advanced degrees she doesn’t use. She lives with her husband, their three teen-aged children, her nonagenarian father, a dog, and two cats, in a suburb of Milwaukee, Wisconsin, where she reads, writes, and plays tennis. Not all at once.

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