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Big Red Lollipop

4.03  ·  Rating details ·  3,522 ratings  ·  562 reviews
Rubina has been invited to her first birthday party, and her mother, Ami, insists that she bring her little sister along. Rubina is mortified, but she can't convince Ami that you just don't bring your younger sister to your friend's party. So both girls go, and not only does Sana demand to win every game, but after the party she steals Rubina's prized party favor, a red ...more
Hardcover, 40 pages
Published March 4th 2010 by Viking
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Average rating 4.03  · 
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 ·  3,522 ratings  ·  562 reviews

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May 13, 2010 rated it it was amazing
Yeah, I have a little sister. Have since I was six. And like most older siblings I had the usual older sis/younger sis relationship with her you might imagine. We older siblings get a lot of innate perks, being the first and all, but when you're a kid you have a tendency to only notice the problems. Little sisters want to go everywhere with their older sibs. That's just the nature of the game. What author Rukhsana Khan has done with her newest picture book Big Red Lollipop is tell a new story of ...more
Mar 07, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: children-s-books
A great story about how your siblings can surprise you and also about culturally differences when it comes to birthday parties.
Mar 12, 2011 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: Sophie
Shelves: picture-books
This is an excellent book highlighting: 1. the problems immigrants face when thrust into a new culture, 2. sibling rivalry, and 3. the way older children are expected to acquiesce to their younger siblings because they are "old enough to know better." Because the author was born in Pakistan, and because of the illustrations, I assume that the immigrant family here is Pakistani. When oldest daughter Rubina is invited to a birthday party, her mother's first reaction is surprise that people ...more
Such a beautiful and emotionally powerful story about sibling rivalry and forgiveness! I get a little bit teary every time I read it...

Also, Sophie Blackall's illustrations, which are both playful and expressive, fit the story very well:
Destinee Sutton
As the older of two sisters, I not only loved this, but totally identified with the main character--a little girl whose mom makes her take her li'l sis to a friend's birthday party. Ugh, Mom! Why?!

The mom in this story actually doesn't know about the custom of celebrating birthdays in the United States, which should be an intriguing point for most young American readers. Some people don't celebrate birthdays? Really?

The central conflict in this occurs when the middle sister eats most of the
Sep 05, 2015 rated it did not like it
Shelves: 2015, storybook
I really hated this book. I know people are saying it is about cultural differences in such but I just don't buy it. Fairness and unfairness are cross cultural. In fact ideas fairness and unfairness are seen across pretty much all primate groups and among many other non-human animals (e.g. dogs and horses). Yes, I can see that, perhaps, and with a big grain of salt, the mother might not understand about birthdays due to cultural difference, HOWEVER, the mother still has no respect at all for the ...more
Jon Nakapalau
Another 'smile-on-you-face-there-is-still-hope' book!
Apr 18, 2010 rated it it was amazing
Celebrating your birthday is not a globally recognized tradition. In some countries, date of birth is considered insignficant and not recorded. So if you get a blank stare from an immigrant when you ask for their birthday, it may not be because they can’t remember it. They may not “have one”. Upon entering the states, if the actual date is unknown, January 1 is often recorded.

Big Red Lollipop is a tale of such immigrants, involving three sisters and their mother who is not familiar with
Aug 28, 2010 rated it it was amazing
My kids were in the midst of a fight. The doorbell rang. Oh look, it was an amazon delivery: BIG RED LOLLIPOP.
I read it to them right then and there...the transformation on their faces was immediate. Smiles and the sense of calm that followed...aaawww. Beautiful book about good character, bravery and compassion.
Edward Sullivan
Nov 12, 2010 rated it really liked it
Shelves: picture-books
Fun story about sisterly conflict. Wonderful illustrations, particularly the spread depicting the chase around the house.
Nov 17, 2019 rated it it was ok
Recommends it for: Readers Who Enjoy Sophie Blackall's Artwork
When Rubina is invited to a classmate's birthday party, she is thrilled - until her mother insists that she bring her little sister Sana along. Deaf to her explanations that this just isn't done, Ami insists: either Rubina brings Sana, or she doesn't go herself. Predictably, the results are disastrous: Sana misbehaves at the party, throwing a temper tantrum whenever she doesn't win at the games, and - having gobbled down all the treats in her own goody-bag - eats Rubina's lollipop, carefully ...more
Mar 09, 2010 rated it really liked it
Shelves: picture-books
Rubina has been invited to her very first birthday party and is elated. Until she tells her mother about it and her mother insists that she takes her little sister, Sana, or else she can’t go. Rubina tries to explain that here the kids don’t bring their little siblings to a birthday party, but her mother won’t budge. Sana is the only little sister at the party, but it isn’t so bad. Each girl gets a bag of party favors to take home and there is a big red lollipop for each of them. Sana eats hers ...more
May 08, 2016 rated it really liked it
Do you have siblings? Do they make you crazy? Well, in Big Red Lollipop Rubina’s little sister, Sana, might either remind you of your own pesty sister or make you never want to have a younger sibling! Rukhsana Khan’s picture book, Big Red Lollipop, shows children that even though your country of origin may be different than your friends and classmates, you may still struggle with similar issues at home. With the backdrop of her story being a family who immigrated to the United States from ...more
Feb 11, 2011 rated it really liked it
Sisters.... :)
Sep 04, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: elm-572
Humorous! insightful! and relatable! These are just a few words that describe the realistic fiction and two time award winning book Big Red Lollipop by Rukhsana Khan. This is a great book to read aloud to any 2-4 grade students and especially to those students who have siblings. While reading this book aloud to your class, your students will immediately be able to picture themselves in the shoes of either older sister Rubina or younger sister Sana. This multicultural book helps tackle the topics ...more
Oct 17, 2016 rated it really liked it
The red lollipop by Rukhsana Khan is about an immigrant family that’s new to the American traditions. Rubina is invited to a birthday party but her mom insists on Rubina’s sister coming with her to the party. Needless to say, Rubina is very upset because she knows that her friends will judge her. Later on, its Rubina’s sister that has to take her siblings to a birthday part. However, Rubina convinces her mom to let her sister go to the party alone.
The book teaches readers about diversity and the
Katherine Little
Oct 17, 2017 rated it it was amazing
This review is required for Dr. Sykes' READ3307 course at the University of Mary Hardin-Baylor.
In “Big Red Lollipop,” a young girl named Rubina comes home from school one day and excitedly shares with her mother and two younger sisters that she has been invited to a friend’s birthday party. Rubina’s little sister Sana begs their mother Ami to let her go to the party, but Rubina strongly protests. Sana ends up going to the party, and through this experience, all the girls learn a lesson about
Aug 14, 2018 rated it really liked it
A young girl is invited to a birthday party, but her mom makes her take her little sister with her! The little sister ends up eating the big red lollipop that the older sister was saving that she got at the party. Years pass and the oldest sister never gets invited to another birthday party again. The younger sister gets invited to her first birthday party, but the youngest sister wants to go with her! She begs and pleads to leave her behind, but her mother doesn't relent. Not until the older ...more
May 10, 2015 rated it really liked it
This book was published in 2010 and won the Golden Kite Award for picture book text. I enjoyed this story about a young girl named Rubina who gets invited to a birthday party. She's excited to go, but her mother insists that she must take her sister with her to the party. The reason her mother makes this demand is because she's from Pakistan, and doesn't understand the American cultural tradition of birthday parties. Rubina is terribly embarrassed to bring her sister, but does so anyway. After ...more
May 10, 2013 rated it liked it
Shelves: we-give-books
While I liked the illustrations and the story read pretty realistic, I was very bothered by the mother's reaction to everything. Sana shouldn't had even been permitted to go to that party in the first place and I do not see how can it be called "sharing" when one person is taking advantage of the other.

I'm being cynic, I know, when the story is about forgiveness and such, but I am pretty sure that while Rubina understands how bad will it be for her sister to have the smaller one tag a long,
Beatriz Gonzalez
Sep 16, 2013 rated it it was amazing
I really enjoyed Big Red Lollipop because I could really connect with the book, because I myself am an older sister as well. The story is about Rubina and how she gets invited to her friend's birthday party, but she cannot go unless she takes her annoying little sister. I remember when I was younger, I as well could not go anywhere without my little sister. I would get so upset because I did not want to take her because I thought she was such a pest like Rubina's little sister! Now looking back ...more
Oct 12, 2011 rated it really liked it
Big Red Lollipop is a children's picture book intended for primary and intermediate aged children. It has won the 2011 Golden Kite award for best picture book text and has won the 2011 Charlotte Zolotow award for best picture book text. Big Red Lollipop is about a young girl named Rubina who is experiencing a con of being the eldest child. Rubina is invited to a birthday party and is forced to bring her younger sister Sana along although she begged her mother to not make her take her along. The ...more
Sarah Sammis
Apr 05, 2011 rated it it was amazing
Big Red Lollipop by Rukhsana Khan was inspired by her own childhood as a younger sister who desperately wanted to go with her sister to a birthday party even though she wasn't invited. It's told from Rubina, the oldest sister's point of view. She is invited to a birthday party, something her immigrant mother has never heard of and she tries to explain that only she is invited. Her mother though says she can only go if she can take her middle sister.

Things don't go well and Rubina isn't invited
Octavia Cade
Jul 13, 2018 rated it did not like it
Rubina's baby sister is a brat, and her mother is no help. In fact, her mother encourages the brattiness by giving in to bratty tantrums so it's no wonder really. I think I'm supposed to find the ending uplifting, as Rubina rises above and becomes the better person, but all I can think is that this poor child has no birthday invitations and no friends left because the brat and the mother who spoilt her have chased them all away. A lollipop is hardly compensation.
Oct 17, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: families, stereotypes
Another special little story about the complexities of sisterhood and growing up.

So great to finally see a book with characters that aren't middle class and white woohoo!
Ashley Greene
Feb 14, 2017 added it
Shelves: elm572
Big Red Lollipop is a story that almost anyone with a sibling can relate to. Big sister Rubina is invited to her first birthday party by a classmate. She is beside herself with excitement as she runs home to share the good news with her mother. Then disaster strikes. If Rubina is to attend the party, she must take her little sister Sana with her. The story is written by Pakistan-born, Canada-raised Rukhsana Khan who tells the story of this cultural faux pas. One does not take an uninvited ...more
Oct 06, 2013 rated it liked it
Rubina is thrilled to get invited to a birthday party until her mother insists upon her taking her little sister, Sana. Sana causes a ruckus at the party, and Rubina isn’t invited to any more parties. Then, when Sana is invited to a party, she does not want to take her younger sister with her. Rubina has to decide if she should keep her mouth shut, or tell her mom not to make Sana take the little sister.

This book centers on the themes of siblings and multiculturalism. Being a sibling means
La Coccinelle
Nov 06, 2014 rated it it was ok
Shelves: children
This book actually made me really angry... so I guess it didn't really do what it was supposed to do.

I understand that the author is trying to show cultural differences here. Ami just doesn't understand that you don't bring your bratty little sister to a birthday party when you're the one holding the invitation. Unfortunately, there was little explanation as to why Ami thought that dragging a screaming brat to a friend's birthday party was acceptable. Perhaps if there had been some discussion
Rubina is so excited to be invited to her first birthday party. But, as soon as she tells her family, her younger sister Sana makes a fuss and insists on going. Their mother, Ami, doesn't see anything wrong with this, and tells Rubina that if she wants to go to the party, she'll have to take Sana. At the party, Sana is the only younger sister there, and she's a bad sport about the games they play. The next day, she steals Rubina's big red lollipop that was in the gift bags. Because of Sana's ...more
Viviane Elbee
This is a great book about sibling relationships. I think all older siblings can relate to the pesky younger sibling and the feeling that mom takes the side of the youngest more than the oldest.

Though I think everyone can relate to this story it also has a cultural twist, when we discover this family never had any experience with birthday parties before moving to America.

My kids were surprised and delighted by the ending, which is totally unexpected, yet satisfying.
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