Updated: Jun 9
Our relationships with our brothers and sisters are some of our first and can be some of our closest, but any parent of siblings will know these relationships are not always without their ups and downs. We’ve collected our favourite books about brothers and sisters which will strike a chord with anyone who has siblings or who is a parent to some.
A Baby Sister for Frances – Russell Hoban & Lillian Hoban
Very few things capture the ups and downs of sibling relationships quite like this series by Russell and Lillian Hoban. Frances is the exasperated big sister who, once baby Gloria arrives, decides she’s no longer keen on life at home and runs away. From her new home beneath the kitchen table, she overhears her parents discussing how much the family all miss her, even Gloria, who looks up to her older sister, and considers she might be needed at home after all. With gentle line drawings in soothing muted colours and a surprising, subtle humour, we think every little one should have Frances and Gloria on their bookshelves.
– Shirley Hughes
First published over 40 years ago, Dogger has endured as one of the best-loved children’s books of all time, and we have to concede it’s pretty close to perfect. The heart-breaking loss of Dave’s very favourite toy Dogger and the relief he feels when Dogger is returned to him will be instantly relatable for little ones, and the selfless acts of his heroic big sister, who saves the day using some wily bargaining, will touch the hearts of little ones and grown-ups, particularly if they have a big sister who has ever done something wonderful for them.
The Unbudgeable Curmudgeon – Matthew Burgess
Those who have siblings will know well the feeling of your sibling being in a bad mood which nothing seems to snap them out of, usually when you want to play with them! We love the expressive illustrations in this relatable book which uses pleasing, playful language to describe how a little sister tries to shake her curmudgeonly brother out of a grump – but bad tempers have an unfortunate way of rubbing off on others! This story is sure to cheer up any little ones or grown-ups who have had to deal with any curmudgeons that day.
Little Big Girl – Claire Keane
We love the simplicity and gentle warmth of this sparing picture book about a little girl, Matisse, welcoming her new baby brother to the family. Whereas Matisse has always seen herself as a little girl in a big world, once she has somebody littler to look after she embraces her new ‘big’ role and can’t wait to show her little brother the world and all the wonderful things it has in store. Although the arrival of a sibling may not always be this straightforward, the way this book depicts the simple unconditional love Matisse instantly has for her brother is truly touching.
Mabel and Sam at Home
- Linda Urban & Hadley Hooper
A glorious celebration of the sheer joy and endless possibilities when two siblings play at make believe together. On moving day, Mabel and Sam must stay out of the way so they hop into a cardboard box and set sail on the high seas, finding all sorts of wonderful things along the way. This story beautifully captures the relationship between the two siblings, with the imaginative adventures of Captain Mabel and her brother told through illustration.
Wolfie the Bunny
– Ame Dyckman & Zachariah OHora
A hilariously refreshing take on the arrival of a new sibling, Dot is alarmed when her parents welcome a baby wolf into their home – a baby wolf who is clearly going to eat them all up! Normal younger sibling behaviour – excessive dribbling, eating a lot, following Dot around – take on a sinister element as Dot tries and fails to warn of the impending danger. Then, an encounter at the supermarket turns the situation on its head when Dot must find her protective big sister instinct! We love the bright, stylised illustrations and tongue-in-cheek humour in this smart little book.
My Naughty Little Sister – Dorothy Edwards & Shirley Hughes
No list of books about siblings could exclude My Naughty Little Sister, who has been delighting families since she first hopped onto the page in 1952. Lovingly written by Dorothy Edwards about her own little sister Phyllis, these charming stories still resonate with big and little siblings today, with an authentic, childlike aspect and a delicious cheekiness that make these books truly timeless.
Watch below for our story-time reading of 'Dogger' by Shirley Hughes!
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