So this review is dedicated to my first nephew, who will not be my only nephew or the only child very soon. (I am not sure if he truly grasps this reality yet.) I very much enjoyed Lauren Child‘s The New Small Person (2014, Candlewick Press).
This is a book about Elmore Green and the arrival of his baby brother Albert, whom Elbert refers to as The Small Person for most of the book. His life turned upside down, Elmore watches others swoon over the new baby. But Elmore soon learns that it is impossible for The Small Person to return to from where he came. And when Elmore becomes scared one night and The Small Person scares away the scaries, he begins to understand that Albert’s only goal all along was to be just like his older brother.
A perfect shower gift or read-aloud for elementary school children, The New Small Person tackles something what many of us older siblings have had to endure: a new baby’s arrival. Child hits on the realities of the situation in a way that is understanding and respectful of Elmore’s perspective. I really like how Child allows Elmore to come around to accepting his brother as Albert rather than The Small Person on his own terms. While present, his parents do not make him come to this understanding. And I think that is a really powerful aspect of this book. And whereas Child does not emphasize the characters’ race or culture, she does present the issue of a new sibling from a much-needed perspective: a non-Caucasian character.
Let me know what you – or the older sibling you know – think of The New Small Person in the comments below!