My Naughty Little Sister – Dorothy Edwards

POINTS: 3 out of 10.

Bechdel: ย 1 points
Variety of characters: 0 points
Good story: 2 points
Discretionary ideological points: 0 points

I was honestly surprised by how much C and I both enjoyed this book. I was expecting a rather twee story, but actually it is really quite charming.

It is basically an episodic book, where each chapter more or less stands alone telling yet another exploit about the narrator’s “naughty little sister”. The sister in question is not really that naughty, but she certainly knows her own mind and is a willful and adventurous child who has a habit of getting into mischief.

It passes the Bechdel on multiple occasions, though there isn’t really any diversity in it. Everyone pretty much falls neatly into assigned gender roles and there’s not a person of colour in sight. I was particularly put out by the story in which their father ‘babysits’ the naughty little sister and is the classic totally ineffectual distracted dad. Because that portrayal of fathers always annoys the crap out of me. If you’re a dad, it’s not babysitting, and can we just not have this ridiculously insulting idea that dads can’t be trusted with kids? I know a lot of very awesome dads who totally parent like bosses. This is why I keep saying feminism is good for men too. Because for reals. Blah.

BUT it is of its time, I suppose (it was published in 1952), so we cannot expect miracles.

Once you look past the gender stuff and the lack of diversity, it is actually a really quite entertaining story. The exploits of the naughty sister in question are frikkin’ adorable, and the narrative voice is engaged and fun to read. The story where she bites Father Christmas had my rather well behaved son totally scandalised! “That was VERY NAUGHTY Mommy!”

Surprisingly entertaining. ๐Ÿ™‚ And if you want stories about fierce little girls who don’t let anyone tell them what to do, who get into mischief and are creative and bold and adventurous? Well, she is certainly that. ๐Ÿ™‚ Even if it is still framed as ‘naughtiness’.

2 thoughts on “My Naughty Little Sister – Dorothy Edwards

  1. I really loved this series as a kid. For me it was that whole transgressive thing, because the narrator is simultaneously shocked (SHOCKED!) and just the tiniest bit gleeful about how bad her little sister is.


    1. Oh absolutely! That’s a very good point. ๐Ÿ™‚ The transgressive element is a staple of a lot of great kids’ books.


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