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I REALLY WANT TO SHARE (Simon Philp, Lucia Gaggiotti)
One morning, as I lazed in bed,
my parents, smiling, came and said,
“Come snuggle up with us instead.
We’ve news we want to share.”
That’s when I learned that we, a three,
a perfect little family,
would soon be four, Mum telling me,
“You’ll have to learn to share.”
I Really Want To Share (Templar 2022) is a perfect blend of humour and heart, told in sublime rhyme with engaging illustrations. It follows the main character as she faces some relatable challenges that come with learning to share. As well as being enjoyable for any story time, this could definitely be used as a #BookThatHelps children share in their day to day lives. It could also support those anxious about sharing their parents’ attention when a new sibling arrives, and the story addresses these things through heaps of action.
Giggle-inducing plot points, engaging characters and fun read-aloud lines that use repetition to effect, this is a great addition to a hilarious series. The thread about Grandma and Grandad having to work hard to share, advocates that sharing can be difficult for everyone at times.
NO MORE BABIES (Madelaine Cook and Erika Meza)
No More Babies (Oxford University Press, 2020) features Sofia whose baby brother is always wreaking havoc in the house, playing with her favourite toys and demanding all the attention. So, when Sofia’s mum and dad tell her that she’s going to have a new sibling, Sofia’s cheeks turn red and she shouts: ‘NO MORE BABIES!’ She goes on to list all the reasons why she isn’t happy. Babies are noisy and messy and smelly! But most of all they steal all her mummy and daddy’s attention.
When Sofia opens up about how she feels, Mummy and Daddy spend some special alone time with her. At the end of the day, Sofia spends some time with her sibling and their bond and affection for each other grows. So, whilst a new addition can be worrying and challenging for siblings (and babies are still noisy and messy and smelly) now readers can be reassured that new babies are also the start of special sibling relationship.
PERFECT (Nicola Davies, Cathy Fisher)
This story begins with a child awaiting the arrival of their baby sibling, who appears the same day as the swifts. The boy can’t wait to race and chase around with his sister, just like the birds.
But when the child’s sister comes home, she has an unnamed disability and so, the boy pulls away. Some months later, he finds a fledgling in the garden that ignites the bond between his him and his sister.
Perfect (Graffeg, 2016) is a truly beautiful story about the arrival of a new sibling with a disability and the disappointment a child might initially feel. Throughout the story, the boy builds a connection with his sister and looks to the future with hope.
The illustrations have a classic, traditional feel and the text is longer than some picture books, but very beautiful with every word earning its place – a nice length to share with a child that might need a little extra attention.
THE PROBLEM WITH PENGUINS (Helen Stephens)
In the The Problem With Penguins, previously called The Night Iceberg (Alison Green Books, 2010), Helen Stephens weaves an unsettled child protagonist into an exciting, magical adventure – a world where icebergs home to penguins sail past bedroom windows.
Tofta isn’t keen on sharing everything with her baby brother, so when the iceberg drifts by one night, she decides it is only for her. But the iceberg is home to five hundred little penguins! By the end of the story, Tofta learns to share even the most special of things, and maybe – just maybe – this will apply to her new sibling when the iceberg adventure comes to an end. This atmospheric yet humorous read is great for young children with a new sibling in the house, those struggling to share, or children longing for magical midnight adventures.
WOLFIE THE BUNNY (Ame Dyckman, Zachariah O’Hora)
Dot isn’t too impressed when she comes home one day to find a wolf cub on her doorstep! She is even less impressed when her new brother gets all Mama and Papa’s attention. ‘Wolfie the Bunny’ (Andersen, 2016) would be a good book to read with a child that has a toddler or young sibling in the family, unpicking how Dot feels when Wolfie is seemingly the centre of everything.
Throughout the story, Dot appears to be the only one that realises Wolfie might, and could, gobble them up (!) which adds to the fun and lighthearted approach to this #BookThatHelps. The twists and turns of this story eventually settle celebrating siblings and their special bond, re-affirming to readers that Dot will always be there to protect her baby brother.
THE BIG ANGRY ROAR (Jonny Lambert)
The fun word play and collaged characters in The Big Angry Roar (Little Tiger, 2022) work in perfect collaboration for a little cub’s journey through the savannah, as he finds a way to let out his anger. When Cub has sibling troubles, he gets so angry he thinks he might POP, and sets off to find a solution. But stamping and stomping and bashing and crashing only make him angrier. Through Jonny’s characterful illustrations and dynamic text, Cub learns that everyone gets angry and that’s ok, but it is important to find a way to let anger out.
Cub’s solution feels expected initially – with deep breaths in and out – but ends with funny faces and giggles. Soon Cub feels much better and apologises to his sibling for a suitably heartfelt ending. A perfect combination of heart and humour with a relatable and empowering takeaway.