A wickedly naughty big sister recounts all the fun her brother misses while he’s napping.
The text’s focus isn’t on sibling rivalry, but this dynamic is unquestionably its seed. Kicked out of the nest by little brothers and sisters, elder children exact revenge in devious ways—who can forget Lilly’s cribside antics in Kevin Henkes’ Julius, the Baby of the World? In that title, Lilly is reformed and comes to love and protect her baby brother; no such resolution emerges in Offill’s mischievous hands. The entire book is made up of the sister’s descriptions of all the fun that she and the neighborhood children had while little brother was napping, and she regales (tortures?) him with tales of pirates, robots, bulldozers, dinosaur bones, french-fry sandwiches, fireworks and firefighters. Sparing not one grain of salt in the wound, wry text reads, “you were the only kid napping / when it happened.” The appearance of astronauts ends the naptime orgy of exclusive fun. “Luckily, you slept right through it” is the concluding line, and it’s accompanied by a picture depicting the boy scowling in bed and the sister perching at its foot. Toys and decorations bespeaking the boy’s interest in all of the things she’s described fill the bedroom, and it’s a shame that earlier illustrations didn’t include more of this real-world context.
Beware the power of older siblings! (Picture book. 5-8)