A precocious big sister is unimpressed by her baby brother in this slice-of-life picture book on sibling dynamics.
Russo’s cheery gouache paintings depict a world of anthropomorphic bears in which the unnamed narrator rattles off her own accomplishments, comparing baby Peter unfavorably to herself. Doting parents and a Francophone grandmother shower love on both cubs, and Grandma even teaches her French. She uses her bilingual vocabulary to order apple pie à la mode and later to convey her dismay when chicken pox prevent her from attending a birthday party: “Quel dommage!” She expresses this same sentiment when ruefully recalling how she’d wished for a baby sister, not a brother, but by book’s end, Peter turns 1, and his big sister imagines all of the things he’ll be able to do as he gets older. While lacking in drama and not breaking much ground in the well-worn new-baby arena, it is refreshing to see a title that stretches the emotional range of the older sibling in such stories. This little girl is not wracked with jealousy; she’s just a little disappointed and unimpressed by her brother since he’s “just a baby.”
For families who are just as happy to do without sturm und drang in their new-baby books, this is just the ticket. (Picture book. 4-6)