“Maple & Willow Apart” by Lori Nichols

 

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Maple is a big sister and starts a big-girl school. Willow is a little sister and has to stay at home. Maple brings home endless exciting stories about kindergarten. Willow has to learn to have fun around the house by herself. Maple makes new friends at school, Willow meets Pip by an oak tree. Now Willow has stories to share too. As the girls learn to build their separate routines, they realize that they miss each other and find a way to reconnect and share their new worlds. Willow might be too small to go to school with Maple, but Pip isn’t. 

Yesterday was my son’s last day of the summer vacation. However nervous he felt this morning when I dropped him off at school,  I am positive that when I pick him up, he will be bursting with excitement.  I’m sure that his younger brother, a preschooler, will notice the difference between the summer with his brother and the fall without him.   And that’s why we will read the story of Maple and Willow tonight, to remind my boys that they should never allow the school routine to drift them apart.

“Maple and Willow Apart”, with its sweet pencil illustrations, is certainly a heart-warming celebration of the sisterly bond.  And it is a wonderful book to read at this time of the year, to prevent the school-separation drama.

“Wolfie the Bunny” by Ame Dyckman

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As a big sister of three brothers, I used to struggle with my role as a child. Many a time did I wonder if we would ever connect as siblings. When I was in college, my two youngest brothers were finishing elementary school. I saw them a few times a year at most. But we did connect eventually. Now that we are all grown up, the age doesn’t matter and my brothers are beyond my siblings. They are my friends.

In other words, the thing with siblings is that, sooner or later, they will bond, despite all the rivalry, jealousy, age gap and different personality traits. As read and seen in “Wolfie The Bunny.

While the Bunny Mama and Papa are quite smitten with a new family member, baby wolf, Dot the big sister, just knows better: “He is going to eat us all up!” Wolfie’s growing appetite only confirms that the Bunny family will be next, after the carrots, which Wolfie can’t have enough. Just like he can’t have enough of Dot. He follows her everywhere, including the Carrot Patch, where Dot finally gets a chance to free herself from the unwanted helper. Yet, as the bear at the store tries to turn Wolfie into his dinner, brave Dot is the one to save him. And with what style!

A warm and reassuring story about family dynamics, siblings, adoption, veggies… engagingly and creatively illustrated by Zachariah Ohara. I love reading it with my little boys, who prove this book relatable and relevant on a daily basis.

“Almost” by Richard Torrey

Jack is almost six and, in his world, he is almost grown up. He can almost wear his older brother’s clothes, ride a big bike or make his breakfast. Never mind that his brother doesn’t let Jack touch his shirts, Jack’s feet can’t reach the pedals of the big bike and he spills milk all over the counter instead pouring it over the cereal. Luckily, despite being so almost adult and so almost accomplished, he is not too grown up to give his mom a hug every now and then.

Our children want to grow up so fast, don’t they? They can’t be just five or six years old. They are always five and a half or six and three-quarters. Yet, at the same time (and thanks goodness), there will always be moments when they don’t mind forgetting about their age (real or imaginary) and being just our little children. My head is full of examples, but it is kind of secret worth keeping, isn’t it. I’m sure you know what I’m talking about.

Sweet, amusing and so true a story, which perfectly captures the paradox and dilemmas of growing up.  In our family it is the two-year-old who thinks he is six, like his brother.  And he sure acts like one. Almost, that is.