Review posted July 6, 2013.
Disney Hyperion Books, New York, 2012. 36 pages.
This story is simple. Yes, it's blatantly for big brothers. (And I guess you can use it for big sisters, but the one in the story is a rambunctious boy.)
The book goes from predictable niche marketing to utterly charming by the illustrations. They remind me tremendously of Maurice Sendak's in A Hole Is to Dig. Spencer is exuberant and playful and all over the place.
The format is such that children will be able to "read" along quickly.
Spencer was a boy.
He was strong --
strong as a
[Here there's a picture of a bear eating honey from a beehive while Spencer holds the branch down.]
The same pattern shows us Spencer as fast as a horse, as tall as a giraffe, as loud as an elephant, as funny as a monkey, as wild as tiger, as messy as a pig, and as free as a bird. In all of them, the animal's name is not written out, but is shown with the enchanting pictures.
The climax has all the animals watching curiously, along with Spencer:
Until one special day
when Spencer was quiet and waiting.
And then he was gentle,
because, for the first time ever --
Spencer was a brother.
A fun discovery is that the endpapers show the baby in the future as a toddler being influenced by Spencer's more typical behavior.
The illustrations make this charming. Perfect for a very young big brother.