A chatty little girl and her patient older brother share an easy bond in a charming early chapter book filled with warmth and wry humor.
Annie and Simon: little sister and big, big brother. Annie likes to talk — a lot — about what she’s going to be when she grows up, about the clouds and rain and umbrellas, about picnics in the park and meteors, about loons and canoes and turtles. And Simon is a very good listener. He knows a lot about the stars and the weather, how to fix bee stings, and where to look for loons. He knows a lot about being the kind of big brother that keeps a little sister smiling. Whether they are poking around the garden or paddling through a marsh, curious Annie and patient Simon are siblings who are clearly happy in each other’s company.
Catharine O’Neill is the illustrator of many books for children. The inspiration for ANNIE AND SIMON, she says, "came from my daughter and her two quite a bit older half-brothers, who were, mostly, very patient. And, of course, from our dog, Hazel!" She lives in upstate New York.
Annie tickled Simon’s foot with her green comb.
"Yoo-hoo, big brother! Guess what I’ve been
Simon looked up. "What, Annie?"
"Fixing Hazel’s hair," said Annie. "When I grow
up, I’m going to be a hairdresser."
Simon looked at Hazel. Then he turned a page.
"There’s an idea," he said.
Annie combed the hair on top of Simon’s head straight up. She combed the sides straight out. She patted the back down flat. Annie looked at Simon’s head.
"Can I fix your hair, Simon?"
"My hair?" said Simon.
"Hazel hardly has any," said Annie.
Simon stopped reading and sat up. "My hair doesn’t need fixing, Annie."
"It does, too, Simon. Hold still."
Annie laid out the cards. "My turn," she said.
Annie picked up two cards and put them back.
Hazel jumped up and licked Simon’s hairdo. "Hazel, lie down," said Simon. Hazel didn’t.
Simon picked up two cards and two cards and two cards.
"She’ll listen to me, Simon. Hazel, LIE DOWN!"
But Hazel didn’t.
"There," she said. "Now you look pretty."
Annie held up a mirror and showed Simon his new hairdo.
"Holy cow!" said Simon.
"Now let’s play cards," said Annie.
Soon Annie’s hair was all done. And it wouldn’t come undone.
"Eeeeeek!" said Annie.
Hazel leaped and barked at Annie’s hairdo.
"HAZEL, LIE DOWN!" said Annie.
But Hazel didn’t.
"Hey, I won!" said Simon.
"Let’s not play cards," said Annie.
"You know, Annie," said Simon, "if you’re going to be a hairdresser, aybe you should give yourself a new hairdo."
Simon went back to reading his book.
Annie picked up the comb. She combed her hair up and down and all around.
"Hey, this is fun," she said.
"Lord love a duck," said Simon. "It really is stuck."
Simon twisted Annie’s comb a little this way and a little that.
"Ouch!" said Annie. "Maybe I won’t be a hairdresser, Simon. I could be . . . a baker."
"Huh," said Simon. "There’s an idea."
"Can I have a cookie, Simon?"
"What’s up?" asked Simon. He came over to have a look. "Annie, what have you done?"
Annie pulled her sweater over her head. "I wound up my hair and it’s all stuck."
"Let me see," said Simon.
Annie took the sweater off her head.
"There," said Simon. "Now you have your old hairdo back."
Annie held up the mirror to see.
Then she tapped Simon’s head. "Simon, Simon, look! Hazel’s lying down!"
"At last," said Simon. "Here, Annie. Have another cookie."
Simon found a pair of scissors.
"Hold still, Annie. I’ll cut the comb to bits."
"Aaaaaagh!" said Annie.
One by one, Simon snipped off each tooth of Annie’s comb. He wiggled the comb a little this way and a little that. Then he pulled the comb from Annie’s hair.
Annie and Simon munched on their cookies.
"You know what, Simon?"
Annie scratched Hazel’s tummy. "When I grow up, I’m going to be a dog trainer."
Simon took a bite of his cookie. "There’s an idea," he said.
ANNIE AND SIMON by Catharine O'Neill. Copyright (c) 2008 by Catharine O'Neill. Published by Candlewick Press, Inc., Cambridge, MA.