A heartfelt reflection on the trials and joys of sibling dynamics.
A multiracial cast of characters with varied skin tones and hair textures greets readers on the cover, and many will note that each of the younger-looking children peering out a window (the eponymous little brothers and sisters) bears a physical resemblance to one of the older siblings pictured below. There are four pairs in all, and at the beginning of the book Arnaldo depicts them in various scenarios in which the younger kids are “all longing for the same few things….” These “things” translate into pictures of the children looking with envy at older kids’ more-sophisticated toys and feeling put upon by or excluded from the big kids’ play. None of the scenes depict outright cruelty on the part of the older siblings, which allows the eventual shift to highlight the positive aspects of being a little brother or sister to feel not only plausible, but natural. The change happens when a little sister longs for “invisibility” after breaking her big sister’s trophy, and then this desire morphs into hoping for a “second chance.” A softness in the big sister’s expression and stance suggests she’ll grant forgiveness, and the ensuing pages show big siblings demonstrating similar generosity as they offer a “helping hand” and otherwise act as protectors, co-conspirators, teachers, leaders, and finally, satisfyingly, as “best friend[s].”
Big love for this little book. (Picture book. 3-8)