A young sparrow learns the dangers of crying wolf while also adjusting to the idea of becoming a big brother in Dantes’ second (The Little Sparrow Named Too, 2013) brightly illustrated picture book.
Too isn’t too sure about the idea of his family changing. He doesn’t understand why he suddenly has new responsibilities—instead of getting to spend his time playing—until his mother explains that it’s a big brother’s job to look out for his younger sibling. But egg sitting is boring, and Too soon develops a plan: He’ll cry out that there’s something wrong with the egg and wait for his mother to fly home. As in the Aesop fable the story is named for, eventually, no one comes when Too cries. When Too realizes the egg has actually vanished, he panics, and when he discovers his mother has the egg after all, he feels relieved, guilty and then protective of his soon-to-be little sibling. Too, with his sassy mohawk and hip-hop clothes, is a charming protagonist. The prose rhymes but has an uneven meter throughout, making read-alouds a challenge. (Some say it comes with the storks / Others with the bees first walks.”) The brightly colored, kid-friendly illustrations have definite toddler appeal, and discussing how to get ready for a new sibling is a perfect topic for this age group. The illustrations do lead to some questions, though: Why is Too, dressed as a knight, fighting off a lizard, dressed in hip-garb, to protect the egg? Toddlers will share Too’s genuine worry when the egg goes missing.
A retold fable with a sibling spin that’s full of toddler appeal but tough to read aloud.