Title: The Best Older SisterThe-Best-Older-Sister
Author: Sook Nyul Choi
Illustrator: C. Van Wright & Y. Hu
Pages: 47
Reading Level: 6-7
Star Rating: ★★

A cheap little picture book.

The Story.

Sunhi is very sad. Ever since her new little brother, Kiju, came along, no one has had time for her. Her parents are always playing with the baby, her grandmother fusses over him, and now the neighbors come over just to stare at him and admire him.

Sunhi knows she shouldn’t, but she feels horribly jealous of little Kiji. Will she be able to master her feelings and love Kiji as she should?

Discussion.

There were good and bad points to this story. It is a case of improper behavior from both parties. Sunhi’s parents both work all day and, with Kiji’s arrival, have little time for Sunhi. This gives Sunhi a real cause for wondering if they still love her when they no longer give her any of their time. However, she responds with jealousy; disliking her brother and wishing he was not a part of their family.

But Sunhi is not a naturally selfish child. She just wants to be loved. This becomes obvious by her responses. When her grandmother and mother assure her that they really do love her, she brightens up instantly and admits that she was wrong for feeling the way she did. She knows she was being jealous and mean, and in her own words, “a bad older sister”. But once she is assured of her family’s affection, she opens up and begins to play with and love her little brother.

Sunhi responded well, but her circumstances were dysfunctional; her parents barely at home and she and her brother tended to by their grandmother. Also, The Best Older Sister may cause children’s own resentments to be reinforced.

Conclusion. Mixed review. The Best Older Sister is an alright book – one with definite problems, but with character growth on the part of the protagonist. Your call!

Review © 2013 Laura Verret

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