A precocious big sister enumerates the discommodious nature of babyhood in this sassy tale. With unreserved glee, big sister dishes on the many pitfalls her younger sibling must endure. Included in her diatribe are hilarious asides that extol—naturally—her own superior position as the independent oldest. While Lloyd-Jones begins her story on a comical note, she deftly conveys the angry/wistful tumult of emotions children often feel when confronted with the arrival of a new addition. The acerbic tone of the older sibling may at times seem a bit much, but her wry musings are on target: Of the drawbacks of an infant carrier, she states “When you’re a baby, / you don’t carry a backpack. / You go in one.” Midway through her baby rant, the older sister’s monologue begins to convey softer, more poignant reflections, and the tale concludes on a fond note. Heap’s acrylic-and-crayon illustrations feature pastel hues. Her comic-book–style sketches artfully capture the spunk of the older sister, while her use of the scrapbook–like lists, further detailing a baby’s shortcomings, “written” by the sister, add both humor and interest. A perfect antidote to the new-baby blues for siblings. (Picture book. 4-8)

Pub Date: Feb. 13, 2007

ISBN: 0-375-83843-0

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Schwartz & Wade/Random

Review Posted Online: May 19, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 15, 2007



Give this child’s-eye view of a day at the beach with an attentive father high marks for coziness: “When your ball blows across the sand and into the ocean and starts to drift away, your daddy could say, Didn’t I tell you not to play too close to the waves? But he doesn’t. He wades out into the cold water. And he brings your ball back to the beach and plays roll and catch with you.” Alley depicts a moppet and her relaxed-looking dad (to all appearances a single parent) in informally drawn beach and domestic settings: playing together, snuggling up on the sofa and finally hugging each other goodnight. The third-person voice is a bit distancing, but it makes the togetherness less treacly, and Dad’s mix of love and competence is less insulting, to parents and children both, than Douglas Wood’s What Dads Can’t Do (2000), illus by Doug Cushman. (Picture book. 5-7)

Pub Date: May 23, 2005

ISBN: 0-618-00361-4

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Clarion Books

Review Posted Online: May 19, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 1, 2005


New parents of daughters will eat these up and perhaps pass on the lessons learned.

All the reasons why a daughter needs a mother.

Each spread features an adorable cartoon animal parent-child pair on the recto opposite a rhyming verse: “I’ll always support you in giving your all / in every endeavor, the big and the small, / and be there to catch you in case you should fall. / I hope you believe this is true.” A virtually identical book, Why a Daughter Needs a Dad, publishes simultaneously. Both address standing up for yourself and your values, laughing to ease troubles, being thankful, valuing friendship, persevering and dreaming big, being truthful, thinking through decisions, and being open to differences, among other topics. Though the sentiments/life lessons here and in the companion title are heartfelt and important, there are much better ways to deliver them. These books are likely to go right over children’s heads and developmental levels (especially with the rather advanced vocabulary); their parents are the more likely audience, and for them, the books provide some coaching in what kids need to hear. The two books are largely interchangeable, especially since there are so few references to mom or dad, but one spread in each book reverts to stereotype: Dad balances the two-wheeler, and mom helps with clothing and hair styles. Since the books are separate, it aids in customization for many families.

New parents of daughters will eat these up and perhaps pass on the lessons learned. (Picture book. 4-8, adult)

Pub Date: May 1, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-4926-6781-0

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Sourcebooks Jabberwocky

Review Posted Online: March 16, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 1, 2019