This Valentine’s Day, let’s look at two stories about the most crucial (and potentially contentious) relationship in your child’s life – the one they have with their siblings.
For those welcoming a new infant into the family, Jessika von Innerebner’s “That’s My Sweater!” takes the concept of sharing down to a child’s eye-level – quite literally, the parental figure is shown as slightly-too-tall for the page as the story focuses on the sibling interactions. With humorous asides and great textures, the illustrations pop in contrasting colors, while Innerebner’s comic-book style speech bubbles keep the story feeling action-packed. As the middle child realizes that her hotly contested favorite sweater was originally a hand-me-down from her big brother, she stretches her sharing muscles to let the new sibling wear it. It’s a perfect example of accepting big emotions, while still moving towards a loving resolution.
In Michelle Edwards and April Harrison’s “Me and The Boss,” an older pair of siblings are figuring out their relationship dynamic. The older sister, aka ‘The Boss’, is both strict and inclusive with her younger brother. With collage-like illustrations that feel quilted together, the siblings attend a sewing lesson at the local library where the younger brother struggles to keep up. After much effort, he conquers the new skill and then sets about mending his and his sister’s belongings. The siblings don’t fight; they don’t reconcile. Instead, and more importantly, they demonstrate the steady rhythms of supporting someone close to you. It is a heart-touching read that I highly recommend for siblings with different personalities.
Let me know what your children think of the books! Drop me a line @dorothy.megan and tag @atx_family on your book updates.
Dorothy Bennett is a writer and artist in Austin, TX where she runs a creative agency with her husband.