Friday, March 6, 2015

The New Small Person by Lauren Child

The New Small Person by Lauren Child
Candlewick Press

Rating: 5 stars

Warning!! After reading this book, your kid is going to request some jelly beans be put in his lunch. But it's okay, you'll have them. Leftover from his Christmas morning stocking (despite the fact that its' March). And you'll stingily give him a dozen. And he will be excited about those twelve colorful bursts of sweetness.

Lauren Child, author of many children's books (most noticeably the Charlie and Lola series), has given the picture book world another gem for its shelves with The New Small Person. Older siblings the world over--especially those with a big gap before a little sibling is born--will relate to big brother Elmore Green and his unhappiness, unease, yet eventual acceptance of his little brother.

"Elmore Green started off life as an only child." He has it all figured out. He has his own room in which he can display anything and everything on the floor. He can arrange his jelly bean collection however he likes, and eat them one at a time. In any order Elmore Green prefers. His parents adore him! Everyone fawns over him!
One awful day, the small person moved its bed
into Elmore Green's room.

And then (dum...dum...DUM) the new person arrived.

The little new person quickly becomes the center of attention, the star sibling, the most adored one. The little new person has opinions that actually matter, and Elmore Green must, for the first time, consider someone else's preferences. The little person moves into Elmore Green's room, demands the channel be changed on TV, and licks every single one of Elmore Green's jelly beans!

When the little person gets bigger, it's clear that he just wants to do what his big brother is doing. He wants to be like him, sure, but he wants to be with him even more.

Elmore Green commits to avoiding him until one night when Elmore Green has a really bad dream. The little person trots over to his bed and shouts, "Go away, Scary!" and cuddles with his big brother until both feel better. He sees that it is nice to have someone else around--in both the day and the night.

Elmore Green realizes: Life is best when shared, even though sharing life is sometimes challenging. Especially when sharing jelly beans is involved.

(Will parental readers see themselves in this book? I know I did.)

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