cover image The New Small Person

The New Small Person

Lauren Child. Candlewick, $17.99 (32p) ISBN 978-0-7636-7810-4

Child (the Charlie and Lola books) tackles the new sibling problem with a story about Elmore Green, whose life is wonderful—“Elmore Green’s parents thought he was simply the funniest, cleverest, most adorable person they had ever seen”—until his parents bring home someone new. As “it” enters toddlerhood (Elmore can’t bear to confer personhood on his brother), he wants to be everywhere Elmore is, and eventually moves right into Elmore’s room. “Now Elmore couldn’t get away from it. It was always there, looking at him.” The Greens are a family of color, and Child draws Elmore’s parents as slim, well-dressed torsos and legs, while Elmore has an impressive array of superhero, cowboy, and animal costumes; his sense of order and security is underscored by ivory-colored backdrops lined with his toys, stuffed animals, and beloved orange jelly beans. The selling point is the way Child frames Elmore’s growing love for his brother as the active, incremental discovery of the joy of companionship (“It was nice to have someone there in the dark when the scaries were around”), rather than treacly submission to the inevitable. Ages 4–8. (Feb.)