Monday 6 July 2015

Just Because

A heartwarming story about the special bond between a brother and sister.

Text and illustrations: Rebecca Elliot

Lion Children's Books, an imprint of Lion Hudson plc 2010
Reviewed copy from library

Back of book:

Toby thinks his sister Clemmie is the best. Join their adventures to find out why.
A heart-warming story of the very special bond between a brother and a sister, no matter what.
"A truly lovely book for all readers." Michael Rosen
"A book that deserves a place in every library and school in the country!" Joy Court, Youth Librarian's Group.

The book:

The story is narrated by Toby, who describes the relationship between he and his older sister Clemmie. To open, he explains that his sister cannot walk, talk or move around much 'just because.' Toby describes how Clemmie makes him laugh, how she likes or dislikes particular things , the imaginative fun they have with Clemmie's wheel chair and how they share books & play together. 

More from Missus B:

This is the sweet story of a beautiful relationship between two young siblings. Toby speaks of his sister with warm affection, pride and utter love. He explains that while she may not be able to do algebra, juggle or cook macaroni....

She's a lot like a princess. 

They don't have to do much either.
They can just sit and look pretty.
Just because.
Toby describes warm interactions between he and his sister- how Clemmie makes him laugh with her funny faces, how she admires his art work or doesn't mind if Toby plays loudly, chases the cat or even eats crayons! In his account of playful behaviour, personal attributes and sibling interactions, Toby explains that, he does not know the reasoning, but things are this way 'Just because.' On reading each 'Just because', I could almost visualise the little blond haired Toby, casually shrugging in a matter of fact manner.

Clemmie likes drawings of trains, spoons & dragonflies but not pigeon drawings!
Toby says 'I don't know why. Just because'
Missus B's Picture Book Reviews
'Just Because'
Toby knows that some sisters can be mean...

They scream and shout,

pull your hair,
steal your chips
and won't play cowboys 
with you.
I don't know why they're 
like that.
Just because.

Clemmie's not like that.

Toby loves that Clemmie (unlike some other sisters) likes to play cowboys
Missus B's Picture Book Reviews
'Just Because'
To close the story, Toby describes how at night time, Clemmie gently cuddles him as he begins 'to dream of ice creams,tractors, and acorns...' and she waits for him to go to sleep. 

Toby says:

Clemmie's my best friend and I love her
And I know exactly why.
Just because.

Clemmie's my best friend and I love her. And I know exactly why.
Just because.

Missus B's Picture Book Reviews
This is a sweet and funny account of family life. Clemmie's disability is not central in the story, and through Toby's narrative, we accept that Clemmie just happens to use a wheelchair. Clemmie's disability is of little significance when there are silly hats to wear, bugs to play with and cuddles to share. Rightly so!

The illustrations are rich, colourful and warm, every page filled with streaky, swirling, soft background colour. Lots of cute details can be admired, from the patterned children's clothing to the animated sea creatures and insects (like Clemmie & Toby's pet lady bug 'Simon'.)

One of my favourite double page spreads in 'Just Because' -Toby describes Clemmie's big, curly hair.
Missus B's Picture Book Reviews
The text is almost rhythmic and easy to read in large, dark font, with Clemmie's name and the words 'Just because' written in playful, curling text. 

In short: 

This is a touching and amusing story about a sibling relationship where play, personal attributes, affection and love make everyday a fun adventure. It celebrates unconditional love, recognizes difference and shows how a special relationship by far overrides special needs.

Happy reading,

Missus B

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