Coping with a younger, rambunctious, adoring sibling is reflected in a child’s complaining yet fond lament.
In this child’s eyes, younger brother looks and acts like a little monkey, complete with long curving tail enabling him to hang upside down from lamps and to wreak chaos everywhere, especially where he should not be, such as in the narrator’s bedroom. Black-outlined cartoons, often presented in several sequenced scenes on a page, feature an exasperated older white child with unruly red hair reacting to the younger, seemingly simian sib, who trails about incessantly, interrupts with hugs, invades every space, and copies every move. But halfway through this rant, the narrator acquiesces to some of the good in having a hero-worshiping little brother who tries to help and even plays cooperatively. And when necessary, they can team up against the disruption of an elephantlike baby sister, introduced in the final double-page spread. “Once in a while, the little guy surprises me. / And I remember that my little brother can be pretty fun sometimes and even kind of sweet.” Negative and positive are balanced, ending on an upbeat tone; older siblings everywhere will recognize the challenges inherent in showing unconditional love despite their occasional resentment.
In the end it won’t be hard to feel empathy for both kids, doing their best to get along. (Picture book. 4-6)