My Life in Books: My Naughty Little Sister
For the first two and a half years of my life, I was an only child, and then the first of my two younger sisters came along. For quite a long time I resented her existence, because of the inconvenience she imposed on my life. No longer did I have the undivided attention of my parents and grandparents. And I was expected to share my toys.
So when I discovered Dorothy Edwards’ “My Naughty Little Sister” books, I identified fully with the long-suffering older sister who narrates the books, telling the exploits of her mischievous little sister and ‘Bad Harry’ – the little friend down the road. Neither of the sisters have names. The point of view of the older sister is first person, and the younger sister is always referred to as “my naughty little sister”. And what trouble this little girl gets into. One story that sticks in my mind is when, at a birthday party, she and Bad Harry get to the trifle that has been specially made for the occasion. After sticking their fingers in the cream for a while, they both get spoons and proceed to eat the whole thing between them. They got very sick, and when I was a child this struck me as a Very Naughty thing to do.
The author claims to have based the stories on the exploits of her own sister in childhood. I was never sure when they were written. When I read them in my childhood, the only thing I remember dating them was mention of coal being delivered into the cellar down the coal chute. By the 1970s, not too many houses were using coal.
I imagine these books will still be enjoyed by children today, especially those with younger siblings. Sibling rivalry has existed since the beginning of time, and small children have always had the capacity to be naughty. Even if your parents try to tell you otherwise.