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Emma's Yucky Brother

By Jean Little, illustrated by Jennifer PlecasHarperCollins Juvenile/HarperTrophy; $14.95/$3.99.



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The only thing harder than becoming the older sibling to a new baby is becoming the older sibling to a child who is not a baby. The new arrival in Emma’s Yucky Brother is not cute or cuddly. He is Max, a big four-year-old who calls names and breaks things. Boy, did my two older kids relate to this story!

Aimed at kids ages five through 10, this book is especially appropriate if you are adopting a child of toddler-age or beyond through the foster-care system. It tells of visits by the child prior to his adoption, as well as Max’s sadness at leaving his foster mom and his resistance to bonding with his new sister. But the story works for kids in other kinds of adoptive families too. Cameron related to a conversation between Emma and her father in which Dad advises, “Let it go, Emma. This is hard for him.” Emma replies, “It’s hard for me, too.” According to Cameron, when his little brother, Christopher, came, “everybody talked about how hard it was for him, but nobody thought about me.

At the end Emma and her brother make peace—and I noticed an unmistakable softening in my kids when we arrived at this resolution.

–by Carrie, Claire, Cameron, and Christopher Krueger, who live in the Seattle area.

Copyright 2002 Adoptive Families magazine. Reproduction in whole or in part without permission is prohibited.

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