A list of silly “don’t”s culminates in loving “do”s for one big sister in McAllister and Sterling’s collaboration.
An opening illustration depicts an interracial family basking in the joy of welcoming a new baby into the family. The dad has brown skin and tightly curled, dark hair, and the mom’s pink complexion is offset by her blonde hair; their little daughter looks more like her dad, as does the new baby, though their hair is less tightly curled. Once this family constellation has been established, readers never see the parents again. Instead, ensuing pages depict the big sister with her baby brother in a series of silly scenarios telling her (and readers) what not to do with a baby. Some interactions are more plausible than others. For example, “Don’t…play the trumpet when the baby’s trying to sleep,” appears across the gutter from the admonition “don’t send him to play with an elephant.” Apart from indicating race, cartoonish art rendered in watercolor, pencil and printed textures opts simply to reflect the text, and all of the spreads depicting “don’t”s lead up to closing spreads showing the big sister lovingly engaged with her baby brother. “Do…cuddle your baby, give him a kiss, sing to him, make him laugh, / play with your baby, read to him, and most of all… // give your baby lots and lots of love” is the sweet closing.
Sibling love, equal parts sweet and silly. (Picture book. 2-5)