Having spent much of my youth as an only child, I waffled between a crushing feeling of missing out when I witnessed an inside joke between my friends and their siblings and being ever so grateful that I was never expected to share what I wanted to keep for my own.
When it comes to tales of siblings, my two favourite books for young readers feature the common elements of an absentee father, an inattentive mother, and a younger sister for whom the oldest has to give up everything she knows:
I will freely admit that, as a wee human, this was not my absolute favourite Maure Sendak story - that honour and privilege was (and still is!) held by Mickey in the Night Kitchen. But what I knew of a sister's love, that I would recognize much later in All the Blue Moons . . . I learned in Outside Over There. In this tale the lack of responsible parents leave the older child with no choice to but to grow up and get on with the job. Of course, the job of rescuing a wandering tyke from goblins, is not something one can really prepare for, but there's no time to be afraid when your Da's gone off, your mum's paralyzed by depression, and your sister's about to be forced into an arranged marriage.