Monty is almost seven years of age, and his life is going well. There are new friends, he is growing taller, he has made some new achievements in karate, and is finally growing out of his asthma…but, “the most remarkable thing of all was that without doing anything, Monty had gotten a sibling.”

He is now a big brother to Amanda! The short stories are peppered with lovely interactions with his new baby sister, and the proud feeling of being a big brother. His Grandma departs after the baby’s birth, but leaves him a present of a magic set, filled with all sorts of amazing things, such as a deck of cards, a magician’s wand and a coin trick box. Will Monty be able to work out how to do the tricks to show his Mum? When his trick fails at first, and fails again numerous times, he eventually cries triumphantly “I did it! I did it! I did a magic trick!” Further to this though, while doing his tricks, his baby sister smiles for the first time… and though she knows nothing about cards, knows nothing about coins and doesn’t understand how the tricks work, the thing she does know and recognise already is her big brother. Monty soon comes to appreciate the new “sort of magic when she smiles.”

The school prepares a Mother’s Day gift of a craft for their mothers, but Monty wants to do more for his Mother…so he decides to take it upon himself to phone a flower company and order some flowers. Alas, the shopkeeper figures out that it is a small boy calling and there are no card payment details. Monty finds out that four dollars and seventy-three cents is not enough to purchase flowers. However, the shopkeeper takes the time to ask questions and talk to him about his new baby sister. The story has an ending touched by kindness when Monty’s Mother finds a special surprise after all in the mail on Mother’s Day.

These stories will amuse and entertain children. The author includes snapshots of what it is like to have a baby in the house and shows how siblings enrich a home in so many ways. It would make a good read-aloud or would work well for newly independent readers.

A former children’s librarian, Jane Fagan is currently a full-time mother of two.