More Perfect Than the Moon by Patricia MacLachlan
Caleb has passed the journals onto Cassie, his younger sister. Anna still works in town with the doctor. Papa and Mama seem the same, and grandfather is the same as ever. Cassie is better at writing than Caleb, but she’s been known to embellish the truth. She writes what she sees, with a little bit of added detail. The cows float into the barn, they don’t walk there.
Cassie starts to notice some things around the house. Her mother doesn’t feel well and Cassie is worried. No one will tell her what is wrong. It finally comes out that Mama is going to have another baby, but Cassie is worried because Mama says she is too old to be having babies. Cassie also doesn’t like the idea of having a younger sibling. She writes in her journal that Mama gives birth to a lamb named Beatrice and she tells Cassie that Cassie is her favorite.
As the pregnancy progresses, Cassie determines that she will not love the baby. She speaks to Anna and Caleb, who both say similar things about her. They didn’t want to love her when she is born, but they did anyway. When Mama went to the doctor Cassie wanted her to come back with a present “more perfect than the moon.” When the baby is finally born Cassie thinks it is “more perfect than the moon.”
What I liked
Look, I hear you sister–I have three younger brothers and if that’s not a disaster every time it happens, I don’t know what is. The first one was kind of novel. I had another kid to play with, but he was a holy terror, so playtime wasn’t always fun. He stabbed me in the chin with a freshly sharpened pencil and I had this awful hole there for a while. People asked me what happened to my chin and I told them the truth. My brother did it. The second brother was quite the disappointment because I wanted a sister. I remember crying about it. The third brother was yet another boy, of course, and by that time, I just flat-out got used to the idea of not having a sister.
So, Cassie, I understand.
I love Cassie’s embellishments on the truth.
What I didn’t like
Cassie seems awfully spoiled. She says she’s never going to love her younger sibling. Cassie, honey, I did this three times. Never once was I like, “I’m going to hate the baby.” Yeah, babies are noisy. Changing diapers isn’t a lot of fun. Yes, maybe your parents won’t pay a lot of attention to you after the baby is born, but babies also add a lot to a family. One does not go around saying they’re going to hate the baby when it’s born.
Who doesn’t love a baby?
If you have younger siblings, were you jealous of them when they were born?
Do you imagine that everything turned out alright with Cassie? What do you think she grows up to be?