Hand: When it comes to family, it’s not easy being a kid
By Luci Hand Reasons to Read December 13, 2013 2:00PM
Updated: January 16, 2014 6:25AM
Siblings are always interesting. There have been tons of research done about them...
We start looking at the phenomenon by learning “What’s So Bad About Being An Only Child?”
Although I have a wonderful “big” brother, I remember thinking about the joys of being an “only” when I was growing up. Rosemary Emma Angela Lynette Isabel Iris Malone has lots of experience in the field.
We watch and learn why she has so many names and what happens to her as she is growing. Finally, she declares war on so many names and settles for Rosemary.
As time passes, being an “only” begins to wear thin and she complains to her parents, demanding a sibling.
Since this doesn’t seem to work, she begins collecting “onlys” of all kinds, sticks and stones, and especially animals. She ends up with quite a menagerie and that solves the problem.
Although she is still an only child, she doesn’t feel like one very often and that is the most important thing of all.
Let’s face it. Pets take away the lonelies.
“Maude, The Not-So-Noticeable Shrimpton,” introduced to us by Lauren Child, has the opposite problem.
Maude’s family is large and each member is eccentric. They are so talented, so larger than life that you can’t miss them when they go out.
Mrs. Shrimpton creates flamboyant hats; Mr. Shrimpton has a very long and twirly mustache.
Penelope is exceptionally beautiful, a real head-turner, and Hector is a tap-dancer extraordinaire. Constance sings like a bird, and Wardo is hilariously funny, causing laughter where ever he goes.
All the Shrimptons live to be noticed. It was their favorite thing.
Then there is Maude. She blends into the background. Really, in the pictures she matches the back of the page so that you have to search her out.
People comment on how bland she is, and when her birthday comes, she asks for a gold fish.
She gets a tiger instead. The rest of the family is delighted. When the tiger gets hungry and nasty, everyone else has to run but Maude just blends in.
Sometimes it’s good not to be noticed.
In “Don’t Eat The Baby!” we meet Tom. Brought to us by Amy Young, we learn that he is the not-so-proud owner of a new baby brother called Nathaniel.
Tom calls him the Blob. He doesn’t DO anything but poop, sleep and cry. Tom is not impressed.
When the baby comes home, Grandma says she could just take a bite out of him.
Tom runs and gets Grandma a cookie instead.
One by one, the relatives come to see the baby and each one expresses a desire to consume him in some way. Tom tries all kinds of distractions to no avail.
They have a party to present the baby and Tom is frantic that they will all come with forks. He might be next.
Tom hides the baby to save him from the cannibals and when he is found protecting Nate, his parents assure him that they did not mean it literally. We end with the baby smiling at Tom and everyone has a great dinner.