Wednesday, February 22, 2012

It's Hard Being a Big Sister

A new book of poems understands that it's hard being a big sister.  Emma Dilemma: Big Sister Poems, by Kristine O'Connell George, is the picture book equivalent of a novel-in-verse.  The non-rhyming poems, read together and in order, especially the last few, tell a story.  That concept really excited my older daughter, who requested that we buy the book and, surprisingly, my younger daughter loved it too (she made me read it 5 times the other day - in a row!).

I love how the poems capture the contradictions and complexity of the sibling relationship.  The sisters know each other better than anyone else.  The elder "translates" the younger's baby talk; the younger knows when the older one needs comforting.  They push each other's buttons like no one else can.  The big sister experiences feelings of annoyance, guilt, responsibility and even schadenfreude.  But ultimately, these sisters love each other.  These poems ring true to me, both as an older sister myself and as the mother of two girls.   The realistic, warm illustrations complement the poems perfectly. 

I hope the author writes another set of poems from the perspective of a little sister.  Here's my attempt, written from the point of view of my younger daughter:

I want to be near you.
Every second of the day and night forever.
Because you're the funnest and the smartest and you
You are the best at playing family and school and
when you tell me to sit
criss-cross applesauce
and not move until after recess
I always do it.
Mommy and Daddy come in and ask why
I have been sitting still
not moving for
10 minutes and I tell them,
"The teacher said 'Don't move!'"
You are only six but
you ride your bike and read
like a ten-year-old.
I want to marry you
Mommy says I can't.


  1. That's adorable! I love your poem. The book sounds great, too. Thanks!

  2. I love the last line. Even though my kids are 7 and 10 they are still sad about not being able to marry each other.

  3. I really liked Emma Dilemma as well, although I think my boys don't really get it. I need to bring it over for my niece.