A Story for Big Brothers and Sisters
by Lola M. Schaefer
illustrated by Jessica Meserve
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.
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Source: This review is based on a library book from Fairfax County Public Library.
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