Four more emergent-reader episodes featuring little Annie, her “big, big brother,” Simon, and bucketloads of sibling togetherness.
O’Neill opens with a thematic link to Annie and Simon (2008). Simon (still) has trouble telling Annie’s drawings of a crayfish and a dragonfly apart but answers her skeptical response to his claim that frogs have knees (“Oh, Simon. Tee-hee. Tee-hee. Tee-hee-hee”) with nature facts until she admiringly asks him if he knows everything. “Well,” says Simon, “I hate to brag.” In subsequent episodes, Simon’s sneeze unleashes a patiently borne flood of little-sister TLC; Annie’s efforts to get her dog Hazel to purr end abruptly when she sees the neighbor’s cat stroll by with a mouse in his mouth; and the sudden disappearance of a wagonload of horse chestnuts left on the porch sparks a bit of detective work. In the author’s informal, loosely brushed watercolors, the gangly figures fit comfortably in outdoorsy suburban and cozy domestic settings. Their mutual attachment is clearly expressed in gestures, expressions, eye contact and, in the final scene, a tender smooch on the head by Simon: “You know,” he says, “you’re my favorite little sister.” “I know,” says Annie.
Would that all sib relationships were so harmonious. (Early reader. 5-7)