Sister and Brother Forgotten, Left-Behind, and Every-Day-Missed are a few of the names used to describe the adorable siblings at the center of this story of love, loss, and longing. Taught that, “once together, never apart,” Sister and Brother embark on a quest that begins when Granny becomes too old to care for them. Granny gives them her old black shawl and sends them to Eldest Uncle’s cabin. Sing the following song whenever you are afraid, she advises: Earth turn / Breeze blow / Brave seeds / Wind sow / Take me / With you / With you when you go.
The children sing (sheet music is provided so readers can sing along) throughout each journey, from Eldest Uncle and his mean wife, to Second Uncle and Aunt, and then finally to Uncle Broken-Heart where they learn their parents’ identities. Brother and Sister are self-sufficient, resourceful, and kind, so they can live under any condition, but they long to be reunited with their parents. They spend the last half of the novella trying to locate them, despite numerous obstacles that stand in their way.
Illustrations of Brother and Sister—bundled together at birth, toiling for their relatives, maneuvering wooden puppets carved in the images of their parents—reinforce the close-knit relationship reflected in the narrative. The illustrator studied history and education at Antioch College, received a master’s degree from Beacon College in art and education, and studied painting at the Art Student’s League of New York City. The author, a Harvard graduate, has taught in Africa and at several colleges around the United States.
The real treasure of the story is its connection to fairytales and folklore; for example, the mystical peddler who pops up whenever Brother and Sister are scared, lost, confused, or lonely, or the magical reappearance of spring and talking trees. Take Me with You When You Go will make a great bedtime story for the older child.