Sunday, April 10, 2016

National Sibling Day 2016

It's National Sibling Day, so it's once again time to be grateful to your parents for giving you your first and best friends, or being grateful that you have gone through life without constantly having to fish your toys out of someone else's closet.

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:

All the Blue Moons at the Wallace Hotel is one of the first five-star books I read as an adult - a book I gleefully used my Barnes & Noble employee discount to purchase by the armful so I could give out willy-nilly to any who showed the slightest interest in my evanglical expostulations.  The story is, at it's heart simple: a tragedy, a family cast out from their chosen society, the conflicts of a child who wants desperately to belong and another who wants desperately to be, and the fierce love they have under their differences.  The pacing is brilliant, the dialogue cutting, and the scenery as lifelike as if it were outside your window.  The conflicts are so realistic as to make your heart hurt with worry, fear, anguish and loss.

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.

No comments:

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 United States License.