Sonderbooks Stand-out

Sonderbooks Book Review of

We Are Brothers

by Yves Nadon

illustrated by Jean Claverie

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We Are Brothers

by Yves Nadon
illustrated by Jean Claverie

Review posted April 15, 2020.
Creative Editions, Mankato, MN, 2018. 32 pages.
Starred Review
Review written in 2018 from a library book
2018 Sonderbooks Standout:
#5 Other Picture Books

This picture book tells a simple story of two brothers who go to a swimming hole every summer. The big brother jumps off the big rock into the water. He tells the little brother it’s his turn this year.

The pictures are what make this wonderful. We see the rock from the little brother’s perspective, and it’s simply enormous, towering overhead.

Then, when it’s his turn, he climbs the rock like a cat. When he gets to the top –

Legs shaking, turning around, the water seems so far away. Too far. A breeze makes me shiver.

How does the illustrator manage to portray him standing there, shivering? There are no motion lines, but you see him hunched into himself, his legs looking thin and small and his eyes looking huge. He looks cold and small and afraid. The next spread pulls back and shows his big brother a tiny head and arms in the water below.

Then the jump.

And then, I am yelling, my arms circling, my legs running in the air. My hands stretch for the sky, while my feet call for water. My eyes find my brother’s.

I am bird.

Then the water, where he becomes fish.

And the book finishes with the brothers doing it all again – together.

What’s wonderful about this book is the way it immerses you in the amazing and memorable moments of a boy’s first chance to do the great big thing – just like his brother. Time stops and starts as you read, and you’re right there.

So lovely.