Through the Looking Glass Children's Book Reviews

Outside Beauty

Outside Beauty

Cynthia Kadohata
For ages 12 and up
Simon and Schuster, 2008   ISBN: 0689865759

Shelby and her three sisters have not had what you would call a traditional childhood. Their mother, Helen Kimura, spends her time grooming herself to look gorgeous, and looking for wealthy men to date. Each of Helen’s four daughters has a different father, none of whom live in the same city, and she has carefully taught her children that a beautiful face is all that a girl needs in this life. Thankfully Shelby, Marilyn, Lakey, and Maddie believe that there is more in this world than physical beauty. They know that the love that they have for each other is far more important than having a pretty face.

They are therefore devastated when their lovely mother has a car accident. Of course they are upset that she has been hurt because they all love their unconventional parent, but they are distraught because they are going to be sent to their respective fathers while their mother undergoes operations to fix her arm and her face. For the first time in their lives the girls are split up.

Though Shelby and her sisters have not had the most supportive of mothers, they have learned one thing from Helen Kimura; they have learned how to fight for what they believe in, and this is what they decide to do.

Told from Shelby’s point of view, this remarkable novel explores the ties that bind family members together. With humor and sensitivity, Newbery-winning author Cynthia Kadohata shows her readers that families come in all shapes and sizes, and that love can  come in the most unlikely of packages.