Lift

Book review by
Carrie Kingsley, Common Sense Media
Lift Book Poster Image
Sibling rivalry softens amid rich images, magic elevator.

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A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this book.

Educational Value

Positive lesson about overcoming sibling rivalry.

Positive Messages

Be open to new situations. Imagination and compassion help ease tension between siblings.

Positive Role Models & Representations

Iris' parents and caregiver are patient during her frustrations.

Violence & Scariness
Language

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that Mihn Le's Lift is a rich story that uses moody, eye-catching illustrations to portray a girl's frustration with a younger sibling stealing her spotlight. The minimal text throughout is better as read-along with younger readers, who might also need a nudge to follow some of the subtleties in the pictures and a reminder that an elevator can also be called a "lift." With a layout like a graphic novel and dark colors for big emotional impact, Lift can help older siblings to be patient with themselves as their role changes and grows, and with younger family members who are trying to do the same.

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What's the story?

In LIFT, it's older sister Iris' job to push the elevator buttons in their building -- until one day her toddler sibling pushes it first. Iris hates that the elevator button isn't just hers anymore, hates that it makes her parents so happy to see her sibling do new things, and hates that she's losing her special place in the family. But Iris finds solace in a new elevator button, one that will transport her to anywhere her imagination leads, returning to her room just in time to take on some new responsibilities as a big sister.

Is it any good?

Magic happens here, through few words and vibrant illustrations that capture emotions common to kids finding their place in a family and a community. In Lift, the imaginary world of Iris' elevator button gives her a sense of control and an escape, a way to get away from her frustrations, even floating above it all in outer space. Young readers can relate to the feeling of being lost in a world that is growing and changing in ways Iris isn't ready to accept, and in trying to find her role. The illustrations are much like a graphic novel: framed in black, often several panels per page, and eye-catching. Adult readers can encourage younger readers to slow down so they can catch the facial expressions and other clues to the plot, since racing through the illustrations could leave readers feeling lost.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about better ways to express feelings of jealousy than the way Iris reacts in Lift. What's your first reaction when you're jealous or upset? Is that usually your best option?

  • Do you think kids in other families feel the way Iris does when life changes?

  • What other picture books with brothers and sisters have you read? Which are your favorites?

Book details

Our editors recommend

For kids who love picture books and family stories

Themes & Topics

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