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Review by Kristen Bentley

A bit about the author: Kristen  is a High school English teacher since 1994. Mother of two and professional writer with a Master’s degree in education. She loves to read, travel, watch baseball, and watch her children play sports, too.

The Brother and the Sister: True Beauty is on the Inside

With all of the media messages about what makes people attractive, it is important to teach children that true beauty is on the inside. The iStoryBook “The Brother and the Sister” tells the story of a pair of twins who look alike, but the sister has a red birthmark on her cheek. She is self-conscious of her birthmark, especially since her brother does not have one of his own.

Recognizing Flaws and Learning to Appreciate Them

The story begins with Brother looking at himself in the mirror and noticing how handsome he is. He brags about how smooth and attractive his skin happens to be. When Sister looks in the mirror she sees her birthmark and how it makes her skin look rough and red. She becomes so frustrated with her appearance that she breaks the mirror and runs to hide in the family’s chicken coop. Brother tattles to Father, but Father explains why Sister became so upset. Father and Brother take a trip into town to find a special mirror that will show Sister how lovely she really is.

Finding Joy in Little Things

While in town, they meet a peddler who is selling mirror that sings. After Father bought the mirror from her, he put it in his cart to bring it home to Sister. Unbeknownst to Father and Brother, a silly monkey hid in the cart with the mirror. When Brother presents the mirror to Sister, she was upset and did not want to use it, but then the monkey jumps out of the sack the mirror was in and distracts the twins.

Why You are So Special

After seeing the monkey playing with his reflection in the mirror, Sister decides it is safe to look at her face. Instead of seeing herself, she sees images of herself giving a toy to a friend and of her caring for an injured bird. She saw other acts of kindness which allowed her to see how beautiful she really is. Once she realized her own inner and outer beauty, Brother noticed Sister’s happiness. Since they brought both back to the peddler woman.

Teaching Children to Appreciate Their Characteristics

This story presents a very powerful lesson. As younger girls, some say as young as six or seven, are noticing their imperfections, it is necessary that they are reminded regularly how special they are. There have been reports of young girls dieting when they are in elementary school and a story like The Brother and The Sister will remind both girls and boys about what it really important in people.

Appreciating What Faces Can Do

In order to remind children how special they are, teachers and parents can use this story along with other activities. One way to make children appreciate their own appearance is to have them look in the mirror and talk about all of their features and what they do, like their bright eyes, their teeth that help them chew their food, their noses that help them breath, and their ears that help them hear. When children understand that their facial features are useful, they begin to appreciate what they have.

Teaching Gratitude Makes People More Grateful

Children can do the same thing that Sister does. When they talk about the ways they help other people, they will begin to see their own personal inner beauty, too. It is not only important that they recognize their inner beauty, but the inner beauty of their friends and family members, too. Teachers and parents should remind their children to be thankful for the people around them. Gratitude helps everyone feel better about themselves and no one can ever say “thank you” too often.