CM . . . . Volume XXIV Number 41 . . . . June 22, 2018
Those few things referred to in the excerpt above turn out to be the simple desires of all younger siblings: a chance to take their turn, a chance to be the leader, the desire to know the secrets of belonging to the "older" group, to have a place on a team, to even get the best seats. These are the elements that always belong to the older ones in daily life and when playing together.
This charming but simple book celebrates the frustration, the difficulty and the special dynamics of having an older sibling. Those youngsters who are lucky enough to have a sibling or two will relate to this tribute. The negatives and downsides of being a little brother or sister are captured in the colourful and humorous illustrations. The delightful expressive drawings, through the emphasis on the eyeballs and the facial expressions, ooze with the resentment felt by the younger set and reflect their desire to just be included. The reader has little doubt as to the irritation felt by the junior siblings.
Ah!… but the positives of being a younger sibling are also in abundance and also celebrated in this sweet book. These include having the older one giving "a helping hand", acting as a body guard, being a partner in adventures, an instructor, a fearless leader. And there is the pure joy of having a friend with whom to share experiences.
That Little Brothers and Little Sisters expresses these sentiments in such a heartwarming and comforting way could open the readers to a discussion with parents or in a classroom setting. What a prime opportunity to have little ones talk about both the annoying negatives and the wonderful positives of having siblings.
Reesa Cohen is a retired Instructor of Children's Literature and Information Literacy at the Faculty of Education, University of Manitoba in Winnipeg, MB.
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