By Maureen Tai, 14 February 2021
Pakistani-Canadian writer Rukhsana Khan’s charming picture book, Big Red Lollipop (ages 5+), tells the universally relatable story of sibling rivalry, temptation and forgiveness. Rubina is invited to a birthday party. Her Muslim mother, unfamiliar with Western birthday party etiquette, insists that Rubina take along her younger sister, Sana. The foreseeable disastrous consequences unfold, further aggravated by the theft by Sana of the titular red lollipop. When Sana later faces the same situation, Rubina must decide if she’ll save or punish her sibling. Khan’s first-person narrative is compelling, honest and direct, while Sophie Blackall’s illustrations are rich with details and expressions. (100 words).