Author: Paula Danziger
Illustrator: G. Brian Karas
Publisher: G.P.Putnam’s Sons, 2014
Age: 4-8 Themes: babies, brothers, jealousy Opening: “Isn’t he the sweetest little baby brother?” Mom asks. She’s making silly faces at Daniel. Daniel has gunk all over his face. He looks like he spit up a space blob. “He’s just a Barfburger Baby,” I whisper to myself.
Summary: (from my library catalog) Five-year-old Jonathon is not pleased when neighbors and relatives come to visit and admire his new baby brother.
I like this book because: I was on the lookout for new baby/siblings books, as one of my Storytime gang is expecting a baby sister next year. This one would be a good choice if my little friend were just a year older, but it touched me, even if I have no recollection of my own little brother being born (and I was not there first!). It’s a poignant, funny and beautifully written story depicting the stark reality of navigating a new world where all the attention is no longer on you! And I am a HUGE fan of Karas’ work, which is what made me pick this book out in the first place. Just look what he can do with dots for eyes!
Resources/Activities: I asked my Storytime gang what kind of objects we could hand to a baby by drawing them out (they also loved watching me draw and guessing what the next object would be): a comb? A bottle? A teddy bear? An apple? A tree? We also talked about how our behavior has to change in the presence of a very new baby, and what we will be able to teach a baby.
For more Perfect Picture Book Friday picks with teacher/parent resources, check out the list on Susanna Hill’s blog HERE.
Author/Illustrator: Matthew Cordell Publisher: Feiwel and Friends, 2012 Age: 3-7 Themes: brothers, imitation, family life Opening: For four glorious years, Davy had Mom and Dad all to himself. Summary: (from my library’s catalog) Davy the sheep wishes he had time alone with his parents, as he did before his 12 brothers came along and started imitating his every move, but when his wish comes true Davy misses playing with the youngsters.
Why I like this book: I was won over immediately by the cover, but Davy’s headband sealed it! A great character and though the situation is one often portrayed in books, the uniqueness comes with the amplification: 12 brothers! There is so much to notice in what looks like sparse illustrations – and all of it is hysterical! LOVE this book!
Resources/Activities: Lots of good questions for a discussion: How many siblings do you have? Are you the oldest, middle or youngest? Do you have step-siblings? What kinds of things do you enjoy doing together? What things would you rather do alone?
For more Perfect Picture Book picks with teacher/parent resources, check out the list on Susanna Hill’s blog HERE.
Publisher: Harper Collins, 1996, 1st ed. Ages: 4 and up Themes: humorous stories, siblings, alchemy Opening:Magnus Bede, the famous alchemist, and his happy-go-lucky wife, Eutilda, thought they had a harmonious family. But their older son Yorick, considered little Charles a first-rate pain in the pants, always occupied with something silly. Summary: (from my library catalog) An apprentice alchemist finds that his despised kid brother is the only one who can help him when he concocts a potion which makes him the size of a peanut.
I like this book because: who hasn’t dreamed of altering ourselves only to realize it might not be an easy thing to live with? Or to transform one’s own siblings, or a school bully? That’s why it’s so fun to watch Charles enjoy this happening to Yorick from the safety of the sofa!
Resources/activities: play a thinking game that Steig enjoyed with his family: What Would You Rather Be? (taken from the contribution of Maggie Steig in THE ART OF WILLIAM STEIG. Get the book. Read it!) Ask questions like, What would you rather be, a tree or a flower and have students explain why (it lives longer; it’s prettier). And read the book: Which Would You Rather Be?, illustrated by Harry Bliss
Today’s tidbit: Steig’s older brother Irwin gave William his first painting lessons. His younger brother Arthur later founded an art-supply manufacturing firm whose products were widely used by artists and graphic designers, including William.