The inspiration for Miriam Cohen's two books about sisters Mimmy and Sophie came from her own girlhood in Brooklyn. Side by side the books are physically very different. The first Mimmy & Sophie,is a large picture book, every inch filled with colorful illustrations in a storyboard layout. The sequel, Mimmy and Sophie All Around the Town, is an early-level chapter book with numerous black and white line-drawn illustrations. Tomas F. Yezerski illustrated both books.
Both books, however, are separated into short stories. Each short story could stand by itself, but strung together they paint a lively portrait of two girls who explore their neighborhood with each other, their friends and their extended family. Their adventures include a trip to Coney Island, a journey on the trolley to visit their grandparents on Pitkin Avenue, a visit to the cinema, as well as varied experiences on their block like a visit from the ice cream truck, sisterly spats and playing school with friends. My favorite vignette was the family vacation: a picnic on Brooklyn Bridge, from which they watched the sun like a "melting raspberry Popsicle on the water." I wouldn't say that these are technically the best written stories I've ever read, but they certainly have their fair share of charm, liveliness and family love. The trap in a book like this is to wallow in a pool of sentimental nostalgia and thankfully Cohen avoids doing that.
As you might imagine, the city, especially Brooklyn, is a key player in the story. Not only are specific places referenced throughout, but the environment in which the neighborhood children explore is defined by its "urban-ness." You don't find many alley-ways full of
My guess is that you and your kids will enjoy reading these together.
Mimmy & Sophie was awarded a Parent's Choice award.
Visit the illustrator's website and see some of the pages.
Little Kid says: Popsicle book! Popsicle book!
Big Kid says: They don't have trolleys like that now.