I love serendipity. I happened to read Spice & Little Sugar by Megan Waldrep and Melissa Nelson on the day a dear friend of mine found out that her second baby is going to be a girl. Another girl. Now I have a brother. My cousins are mostly brother/sister combinations. My husband has a sister. And Molly and Jacob are (obviously) boy/girl twins. We’re not swimming with connections to sisters. But sisters big and small were on my mind the first time I read this book, and I was in the mood to read about the specialness of a sister/sister relationship.
And this book is just that. It’s a great book for big sis little girls who already have a little sister and grapple with loving them and being frustrated. The book starts with a big sister complaining about her younger sister. It’s the stuff us older sibs all know (even those of us with younger brothers). Younger kids go first. You always have to share. They want what you have. They copy, look, poke and pry and don’t leave you alone. BUT! Halfway through the book, the big sister seems to realize that those same negatives mean something positive, and she goes on to list all the good stuff about being sisters (sharing feelings alongside toys, sticking up for each other, playing together, and that actually, all that annoying stuff is because little sisters really admire and want to be like their big sisters, which is a very nice feeling!).
So, I’ll save the book for my friend until her older daughter is used to having a little sister around. Or actually, I’ll have to buy her another copy in a couple of years, because our copy has been absconded by Molly, who loves it. I’ll let her tell you why: “I like it because the dog is so cute. People think the sisters are the same, but they’re not, they’re the same in different ways. They can do lots of the same things, but not everything. I also like it because there are not so many words and the pictures tell you the story the same as the words. And the words they do have are funny. No Jacob, you can’t have it, because it’s for girls.” And there you have it.
Funny codicil: Right before I was about to post this review, Molly had a playdate with a friend who has a younger sister. A very trying little sister, who is right at the age where she gets into everything. Molly was reading this book aloud to her friend, and I wandered in. Perfect! I had a real big sister to ask. When they were done, I asked if she liked the book. She shrugged. I asked her if the book described what it was like to have a little sister. She shook her head emphatically no. I was surprised. I asked why and she said, “Because the end is not true at all. Only the first half of the book is true. Little sisters are a pain. That is all they are. Mostly, I want to be alone, and I never can be.” And as perverse as that sounds, that negative response is about the best endorsement of the book I can imagine, as I think it perfectly captures how you’re feeling sometimes when you have a rough sister (or sibling) day. And I know, as a big sister myself, that you don’t appreciate younger sisters (or brothers) every day. But you do come to. Maybe not today, maybe not tomorrow. But someday, and for the rest of your life…