Big sister Sheila Rae is not afraid of anything — not thunder, not lightning, not even the big black dog at the end of the block. She growls at stray dogs, and bares her teeth at stray cats. She's not even afraid of the most frightening things she can imagine, and she has quite an imagination! But it's hard demonstrating courage without new and more terrifying challenges, and so brave Sheila Rae decides to go home from school a new way. When her little sister Louise doesn't want to come, Sheila Rae calls her a scaredy-cat and sets out alone.
Then Sheila Rae gets lost. Without Louise along needing protection, she feels alone and, well . . . scared. Luckily, Louise has been following her secretly all along, and the surprising little sister appears in the nick of time to courageously guide her sibling home. Louise proves her bravery the whole way, growling at stray dogs and baring her teeth at stray cats just as Sheila Rae has shown her. The trip home is a triumph for both girls, who have discovered the value of sisterly support — and that it pays, sometimes, to be brave together.
As in his other beloved, mouse-filled picture books, favorite author/illustrator Kevin Henkes makes a strong story out of the kind of realistic drama his young readers face every day. His expressive pen-and-ink and watercolor pictures evoke accurately childlike emotions, while infusing each scenario with humor and realism. Not a word is out of place in the text, either, which invites readers to repeat and remember as well as enjoy. Like Owen, a Caldecott Honor Book, and such beloved tales as Chrysanthemum and Chester's Way, this simple adventure merits multiple readings.