This energetic, comical collaboration rounds up seven new stories about the spunky siblings from Blume's The Pain and the Great One. First-grader Jake calls his older sister the Great One, "because she thinks she's so great." Abigail, in turn, has dubbed him the Pain "because that's what he is." In distinct, equally sassy voices, the two take turns narrating the tales, which capture slices of Saturday life. The Great One provides an imaginative solution when her brother refuses to get a haircut (because he's afraid that the barber will cut his ears off), and describes her disastrous half-birthday sleepover party, at which the one friend who shows up refuses to spend the night. The Pain explains how he successfully wiggles out of playing goalie for his bungling soccer team, and tells of pet-sitting for his aunt's dog and giving the malodorous mutt a shampoo and a tooth-brushing. And the Great One proudly recounts how she finally overcomes her fear of falling and learns to ride a bike. ("I can jump rope, turn an almost-perfect cartwheel, and make pancakes with hardly any help. The Pain is hopeless at those things. So how come he can ride a bike?") Blume fills the duo's narratives with playful bickering, banter and baiting, while slyly and satisfyingly revealing their mutual affection. Further animating the kids' antics are Stevenson's (No Laughing, No Smiling, No Giggling) wispy illustrations, which feature many funny flourishes. Ages 5-9. (Aug.)Copyright 2007 Reed Business Information
School Library Journal
This collection of seven short stories by Judy Blume features first grader Jacob, "The Pain," and his older sister, Abigail, "The Great One." First brought to life in her picture book, The Pain and the Great One (Bradbury Press, 1974), Blume reintroduces these lovable siblings with a series of humorous and insightful tales about growing up. From getting a first haircut to having a birthday sleepover to learning to ride a bicycle for the first time, the two youngsters try to deal with growing up in a variety of familiar situations. Narrators Kathleen McInerney and Fred Berman bring Abigail and Jacob to life by portraying them with age-appropriate voices. An entertaining and fun recording that will delight young listeners.
Amy JoslynCopyright 2006 Reed Business Information.
Once again, Blume shows off her pitch-perfect understanding of childhood anxieties and family dynamics. In alternating first-person chapters, siblings Jacob (the Pain) and Abigail (the Great One) describe a series of Saturday adventures, including visits to Mr. Soupy's hair cuttery, an unsuccessful sleepover and lively dog-sitting. First-grader Jake learns to like soccer league when he gets to play something besides goalie, and third-grader Abigail finally masters riding a bike. Each short chapter begins with a picture of the speaker, and all are liberally illustrated with Stevenson's sketches. Aimed at a younger audience than many of her books, the humor and convincing dialogue will keep new readers going. Jacob and Abigail first appeared in "The Pain and the Great One" in Marlo Thomas's collection Free to be . . . You and Me (1974); that story was illustrated and republished on its own with the same title in 1984. This welcome new collection should attract a new generation of readers. (Fiction. 6-9)
From the Publisher
Starred review, School Library Journal, August 2007:
"[T]he stories are sweet and accurately depict the growing pains of childhood."