Wednesday, February 1, 2017

A Story About Brothers and Sisters

My nephew is the youngest of three. He is three years old with two older sisters and has the energy of about ten three year-old boys. He can be positively angelic one minute and crashing a bookshelf to the floor in pieces the next. And just like Alphonse in the picture book Alphonse, That Is Not Ok To Do! ( written and illustrated by Daisy Hirst), he has the charm of about ten three year-old boys.

This week’s picture book is about Natalie, a once only child, and Alphonse, the little brother who came along and changed her life. Natalie mostly enjoys her new companion. They name pigeons together, listen to stories together, and bounce things off their bunk beds together. Alphonse has a few not-so-fun habits, however, like drawing on Natalie’s things or eating them. One day Natalie reaches her limit when she catches Alphonse eating her favorite book. Conflict ensues and Natalie and Alphonse have to find a way to settle their differences.

You don’t have to have a little brother to relate to the characters in this story. Anyone with a sibling, girl or boy, older or younger, can relate to how annoying and ultimately rewarding a sibling relationship can be. Natalie and Alphonse are not drawn as humans—they look like people from a child’s imagination—but that makes their circumstance even more universal.

This is a great book for kids who are struggling with a new little brother or sister in their lives. It depicts a brother and sister who feel real frustration and real regret and it shows them resolving their conflict in a healthy, loving way.

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