Review Detail

Kids Fiction 86
Meeting a New Sibling through Open Adoption
Overall rating
 
4.5
Plot
 
5.0
Characters
 
4.0
Writing Style
 
5.0
Illustrations/Photos (if applicable)
 
4.0
Daniel loves birds, so when his family is headed to the adoption center to pick up his new baby sister, he tries very hard to learn to whistle so that he can share this skill with his new sibling. It doesn't always go well, and he's worried that he won't have a gift for her. His mother tells him that loving his new sister will be gift enough, but he still worries. His family works with him to understand that his sister's birth mother will be there, and that they will meet her before bringing the sister home. This makes sense to Daniel, and he thinks about the two friends he has at school who are adopted. When the day comes to meet his sister, Angela, Daniel still can't whistle, but he connects with the birth mother, Jessie, over a shared love of birds. He holds Angela and tries to whistle, but it is Jessie's instructions that enable him to produce a sound. Daniel can see that Jessie is sad, so he reassures her that he and his family will take good care of Angela.
Good Points
As open adoptions become more and more the standard practice, picture books about the process need to be updated. When my best friend was adopted in the 1960s, her story was certainly very different from Angela's! There are open lines of communication now, and Daniel's family is very careful about giving him all of the information he needs to understand how his new sister is coming into their family. The theme of birds that runs through the books ties things together nicely.

Each adoption situation is different, so it's a good idea to take a look at picture books that address the topic before reading them to a child, so that the child's own experience can be reflected. Of course, it's good for children who are not adopted to read about the experience as well, and see that there is not one way for this to occur. Add Whistling for Angela to your list of books about adoption that may also include Katz' Over the Moon, McCutcheon's Happy Adoption Day, and Krishnaswami's Bringing Asha Home.
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