Illustrations copyright 2008 by David McPhail. HarperCollins.
Since Jackson is an only child, we never had to deal with the new sibling issue. Nor, as the youngest of four children, did I personally experience it (instead, I felt neglected, rejected and ignored, but that's another story!). Still, it wasn't difficult to put myself in the place of the only child forced to accept a tiny, drooling usurper.
I think we all can relate to the sense of frustration, loss and anger that accompanies being "dethroned" and suddenly having to share all that glorious attention--not to mention all your stuff. I had a lot of fun writing about the "stuff" part:
Before you came, this tub was mine.
This soap was mine. This sub was mine.
This train was mine.
This hat was mine.
This boat was mine.
This bat was mine.
This drum. This book.
This bear was mine.
This ball. This brush.
This chair was mine.
This chalk. This truck.
This blanket, too.
The whole wide world was mine--till you.
I love David McPhail's work, and was thrilled when he agreed to illustrate this book. I love his warm colors, the realistic emotions of the big brother and baby, and his great tenderness and humor (and, of course, as a dog-nut, those gorgeous pooches!). And I'm grateful to Stephanie Bart-Horvath for her book design efforts. I'm particularly pleased with the form and placement of the text (after many books, you really notice when this is done well!).
Teaching Themes: adjusting to a new sibling, dealing with jealousy and anger, growing up.