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In Review

By Elizabeth Wroten

Picture Book Review: Sunday Shopping by Sally Derby

On 20, Apr 2016 | In Review | By Elizabeth Wroten

Sunday ShoppingSunday Shopping written by Sally Derby, illustrated by Shadra Strickland

From Goodreads: Sunday nights are special for Evie and Grandma. That s when they go on their weekly shopping spree. Grandma flips open the newspaper to see what s advertised, and the imaginary tour of neighborhood stores begins. Toting a wallet filled with colorful pretend bills, Evie and Grandma take turns buying whatever catches their fancy. A big chunk of ham, a sofa with a secret, and a dress with spangles are just a few of the treasures they purchase. Most special of all is the jewelry box Evie chooses for the gold heart necklace Mama gave her and the bouquet of flowers Evie leaves as a surprise for Grandma. 

This was such a great story about imagination. Evie and Grandma spend Sunday evenings pretending to buy all sorts of items from stores in their neighborhood. They snip out pictures and pass Monopoly money back and forth to purchase their items. I would have EATEN THIS UP as a kid. Evie and Grandma are having such a good time flipping through the ads and cutting things out and coming up with what they’ll eat during the week or why they want certain things (a jewelry box for a special necklace). As Evie and Grandma keep adding items and visiting stores the illustrations fill up with all their finds. Each piece looks cut from an add and stuck down making the reader feel a part of the fun.

I would like to point out a couple details about the book that make it important. The first is that Evie is clearly living with her grandmother, but there is a picture of her mom on the bedside table. Her mother is in a military uniform in the picture. It’s never stated if the mother is dead or if she is deployed allowing children with parents in the service to read into it what they need to. The second detail is that it’s never said that Evie and Grandma do this because they don’t actually have the money to go shopping. This is purely a game. A game where Evie is practicing her math skills! I feel like so many of the books we have that feature African American families, especially those where the grandparent is raising the grandchild, portray them as poor. Again, kids can read into it what they need to. For my particular library population I hate that narrative that all African Americans are poor- it’s so obviously not the case and I don’t want my African American students to be uncomfortable and I don’t want my white students to internalize that. This might actually be a great conversation starter for parents and teachers if their kids or students make the assumption that Evie and her grandma are poor.

Another beautiful book to celebrate grandparents, different family structures, and creativity. You could certainly get out some play money, scissors, and ads once you’ve read the book and copy Evie and Grandma.

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