Spinky Sulks, by William Steig

Spinky came charging out of the house and flung himself on the grass. He couldn’t even see the dandelions he was staring at, he was so upset. His stupid family! They were supposed to love him, but the heck they did. Not even his mother.


In a while his sister, Willamina, came out and said, “I’m sorry I called you Stinky, Spinky.” Spinky didn’t answer.

“Spinkalink,” she said. “I apologize!” Spinky still didn’t answer, so she went back inside. “*Now* she apologizes,” he muttered.

A little later Spinky’s brother, Hitch, appeared and touched him with a finger. Spinky shook it off. “You were posilutely right!” Hitch said. “I looked it up. Philidelphia *is* the capital of Belgium.”

Spinky turned his back. His brother’s slimy voice was more than he could bear.

“Spinks, it’s lunchtime,” said Hitch. “Mama wants you in the house.”


Instead of answering, Spinky went and climbed the big tree.

His parents were watching from the window. “Poor kid, he’s so sensitive,” said his mother. “I better go talk to him, Harry.”

“Ruby, don’t,” his father said. “He needs to simmer down. He’s got no reason to sulk.”


When it started getting dark, Spinky’s mother came outside. She kissed him over and over, and told him she loved him with all her heart, ever since the minute he was born. And even before that.

Then she covered him with a blanket and kissed him again – and it was no fake kiss. But Spinky lay there like a stone. He wasn’t interested in kisses that came too late.