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ONCE UPON A BABY BROTHER

Author: Sarah Sullivan

Illustrator: Tricia Tusa

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Publisher: Farrar, Straus and Giroux,

Material: hard cover

Summary: A second grade girl, who is an avid writer and storyteller, is quite annoyed by the displacement caused by a newborn baby brother. He terrorizes her room and gets glitter glue all over her favorite stuffed bear. He becomes the subject of her stories: the MONSTER factor. During the week he and Mommy go to visit Grandma she suffers writer's block. Hmmm ... it only goes away when he returns to terrorize her peace and quiet. Then he is transformed from her MONSTER character to her HERO character, and she realizes how important he is in her life. This picture book shares the story of a young girl learning the hard way that baby brothers can be cool.

Type of Reading: bedtime story, family reading, playtime reading, read aloud book

Recommended Age: read together: 3 to 8; read yourself: 8 to 10

Interest Level: 4 to 8

Reading Level: 3.3

Age of Child: Read with children ages 3 and 5.

Young Reader Reaction: They loved the book and asked for it many times. I have 3 boys, ages 1, 3, and 5, so this story really hits home for the older two.

Adult Reader Reaction: There is an important and relevant lesson is to be learned in this story. I liked the book because it is relevant to my kids (dealing with a terrorizing baby brother), but the ending is a positive one. I think the text could have been more efficient, a bit shorter, and not lost it's potency.

Pros: This book is relevant for any child with a younger sibling, even if they are no longer a newborn. It has a wonderful lesson to be learned and fun illustrations to engage young audiences.

Cons: None, really.

Borrow or Buy: Buy! Depending on your child's situation, this might be a good lesson to learn, particularly if they are having a hard time dealing with a younger sibling.

If You Liked This Book, Try: HOPALONG JACK AND THE BLUE BUNNIES   SORT IT OUT!   ME TOO!

Educational Themes: The most obvious lesson from the book is learning how to live with a baby. The long-term message is that learning to live with a thorn in our side can also be our greatest love (tolerance). It also illustrates how writing a story is a good and fun activity, not to mention a "safe" way to express your feelings.

Notes: The publisher donated a copy of this book knowing that we would consider it for review and provide an independent, unbiased profile. This book will be given to a nonprofit to help readers in need.

Literary Categories: Fiction - picture book, family, emotions

Date(s) Reviewed: March 2011

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