A long-winded, first-person treatise on a well-worn theme is delivered by a new big sister.
The premise of the story is familiar: a little girl is less than enthusiastic about the birth of her baby brother; she is then scornful of his inability to do much of anything, and she asks her parents to make him go away. Her frustration, boredom, and jealousy suddenly abate after an outburst: “BABIES RUIN EVERYTHING!” The following page turn reveals a wordless double-page spread divided into four horizontal bars of color. These are illustrated with close-ups of the baby’s eyes to the left of the gutter and the sister’s to the right. The progression down the spread shows the baby going from tearful to wailing and the sister’s expression changing to show increasing guilt. After this point, the sister decides to try to be “a better sister,” which involves letting the baby make quite a mess. Mom is none too pleased, and her response forges an alliance of sorts between the children that rounds out the story. Throughout, the naïve, cartoon art style is well-suited to the child’s narration, but its busyness can seem cluttered, as surely as the lengthy text needs significant snipping. Both tots are light-skinned, but the protagonist’s straight, black hair could indicate she’s a child of color.
Such a familiar theme needs something to distinguish the book that revisits it, and that something is missing here. (Picture book. 5-7)