In this seemingly dark tale, reminiscent of a Brothers' Grimm story, Wee Sister Strange lives on her own in a dark wood where no children roam. She buries the bones of owls' dinners and rides a fierce bear. She's always searching for something, and finally, she finds it in a story while she listens outsides a child's window, then falls into a contented sleep. Through sophisticated language (e.g., pane instead of window), this is told in a curious rhyme that does not always flow naturally (thistle and twinkle are not an easy pairing). Campbell's illustrations give a warmth to the telling; the dark backgrounds are soft in texture, and Sister Strange is always in the light. Even a page with brambles and dark clouds has dimmed stars and a far-off lighted window. Not for the faint of heart, this is a tale for an imaginative child who will be happy to know that a story can provide unexpected warmth and comfort. Copyright 2017 Booklist Reviews.Review by Publishers Weekly Reviews
A young forest spirit known as Wee Sister Strange travels through a forest by night, climbing to the tops of trees and diving to the bottom of bogs in search of something not revealed until the final pages. Grant (the League of Beastly Dreadfuls series) creates a poem rich with metaphor ("She drinks up the moon/ Like a cat drinking cream./ She drinks up the dark/ Like it's tea with the queen") in a story that walks a careful line between eeriness and comfort. Barefoot and clad in a yellow shift dress and crown of autumn leaves, Wee Sister Strange is an unthreatening presence, utterly at home in the woods "where no children dare roam." In moody watercolor and pencil scenes, Campbell (Who Wants a Tortoise?) uses unexpected angles to follow the sprite's nocturnal search from multiple perspectives. The metafictive conclusion (Wee Sister Strange is lulled to sleep listening to her own story being read aloud as another girl's bedtime story) brings the tale full circle in the loveliest of ways. Ages 4–8. Author's agent: Brianne Johnson, Writers House. Illustrator's agent: Lori Nowicki, Painted Words. (Sept.) Copyright 2017 Publisher Weekly.Review by School Library Journal Reviews
PreS-Gr 2—This lyrical poem about a girl who roams the woods at night has a more unsettling premise than readers might think at first glance. "She doesn't have parents./No one knows her name./But the people in town/Call her Wee Sister Strange." Grant's Edgar Allan Poe-ish tale is balanced by Campbell's soft illustrations in watercolor and colored pencil, which depict a fey redheaded sprite with huge hazel eyes, pert coral lips, and a ratty yellow dress, who prances through the night searching delicately for a bedtime story. The settings shift from an autumnal forest with prowling wolves and barn owls to a deep bog filled with axolotls. Kids will be intrigued by this lightly creepy rhyme, which sounds like cautionary verse but ends sweetly. The verse rolls smoothly without forced rhymes or syllables and does well as a read-aloud. VERDICT A daintily spooky bedtime story that will delight; first purchase.—Lisa Nowlain, Nevada County Community Library, CA Copyright 2017 School Library Journal.
With a lyrical text and gorgeous, ethereal illustrations, here is a mesmerizing and magical original bedtime fairy tale reminiscent of Emily Winfield Martin's Dream Animals, and perfect for reading aloud.They say there's a girlWho lives by the woodsIn a crooked old houseWith no garden but gloom. She doesn't have parents.No one knows her name. But the people in townCall her Wee Sister Strange. Like Emily Winfield Martin's bestselling Dream Animals, here is a bedtime read-aloud sure to entrance young listeners. Each evening, as the shadows grow long, Wee Sister Strange climbs from her window and runs into the woods. She talks to the owls and rides on a bear. She clambers up trees and dives into the bog. She is searching for something.... She looks far and wide, over forest and marsh. What is it she seeks? Why, it's a wee bedtime story to help her fall asleep!