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The Parent Resource Centre

The Sisters Saint Claire – Book Review

The Sisters Saint-Claire

 Written by Carlie Gibson. Illustrated by Tamsin Ainslie. Published by Allen and Unwin.

A rhyming, unashamedly girly, tale of a small mouse that achieved great things.

Also available from Book Depository: The Sisters Saint Claire

The Book

First time, Australian author, Carlie Gibson, provides a very European-feeling tale set in an unnamed market town inhabited by mice. The characters’ names, the various French food names and the frequent use of French words, all contribute to the atmosphere. The Continental feel is continued with Tamsin Ainslie’s illustrations of beret-wearing artist mice, the little market square surrounded by closely huddling houses and the soft colours and touches of autumn throughout the book.

The story introduces five sisters. The youngest, Cecile, is a great baker, and this week she is allowed to take her pies and pastries to the market to sell. Despite the help of her sisters, the adults at the market are not interested in the cooking of a young mouse and it’s not until the queen herself pops by in search of some dessert that Cecile’s talent is finally discovered and her fame assured.

The Pros:

The rhyme and rhythm throughout are consistent, if occasionally contrived, and the littlest mouse triumphs in the end for a satisfying conclusion. The illustrations are charming and appealing. The descriptions of the market and the delicious food and other products on offer are great – mouth-watering, even. And the fact that little Cecile is able to overcome the adults’ prejudice over her age is a nice idea for children, who are often ignored or talked down to by the adults in their lives. The rhyme is useful for beginning readers and the writing is clear enough, if a little small, to be readable for beginners. There is also a simple recipe at the back which baking-enthusiasts can try.

The Cons:

This is the kind of book to appeal to a very limited audience: a girly-girl, who likes nice clothes and pretty treats. For the age group, around 4 to 7, it may not offer enough to please. It is the type of book, in my opinion, that appeals more to adults as the sort of book a little girl ‘should’ like, rather than a book that girls really do like. But I’m willing to be proven wrong. Certainly, my daughter listened to the story patiently, if not overly enthusiastically. She showed no inclination to read it again, though of course, that’s only one person’s opinion, target market though she is.

Our Rating (channelling our love of ice cream, our rating system works the way we like our ice cream: the more scoops the better. Besides, good books should be devoured!

Best = four scoops):

two scoops icecream

Two scoops. Nice for a snack!



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