An older sister prattles on to her newborn sibling about all the things to learn in the world.
In their first collaboration, Tsiang and Leng produced A Flock of Shoes (2010), an airy tale of a child’s attachment to an article of clothing. Unfortunately, this second story does not have the same whimsy or story arc. The narrator is an older sister, using a conversational voice to list the myriad skills the newborn sibling will have to master. The voice is unfortunately arrogant, albeit confessional, and has a manic quality about it. The scale of the sibling’s list of knowledge is enormous. It starts from learning how to eat and cry, through walking, talking, potty training, trouble with parents, punishments, going to bed and giving up the pacifier, and it ends at riding a bus and learning the alphabet. Leng’s illustrations are sketchy and appropriately toddler-active. Yet here, too, the images could benefit from a cohesive plan. Where did the older sister’s hand-made guide, seen at the beginning, go? How are the individual vignettes sequenced? Why is there a voice bubble around these words? The busyness of the whole keeps readers from forming an emotional attachment to the characters or the story.
It is all just too jumbled to succeed as a charming older-sibling book. (Picture book. 3-6)