Thursday, May 31, 2012

Book #152: Another Brother by Matthew Cordell

Image from BarnesandNoble.com

For four wonderful years it was just Davy and his mom and dad. He had lots of attention and they praised his accomplishments. Then Petey came along. Davy’s little brother got all the attention and no one was impressed by Davy's singing or knitting anymore. But it got worse, next came Stu, then Mickey, than Carl. Well, you get the idea. Soon Davy had 12 brothers and they all wanted to be just like him. If Davy ate Toot Loops, so did his brothers. If he rode his bike, there were 12 brothers riding bikes behind him. It was driving Davy crazy! But when Davy’s brothers stop mimicking him, he finds it’s not as much fun to be alone as he thought it would be. Fortunately, Davy isn’t alone long, because he gets another sibling: a sister!

The humor in this book elevates it from being just another “new baby” book to a story of a unique and quirky sheep trying to adapt to life as a big brother. The hilarious text is fun to read aloud and the page turns are placed to add dramatic pauses to the story. Cordell’s illustrations not only support the text, but add numerous sight gags (which usually involve one of Davy’s brothers falling down). The cartoon-like illustrations are often paired with speech bubbles to add sounds and words beyond the left to right text. The sheep in this story are not your run of the mill, white and fluffy variety. Davy’s father wears suspenders and Davy is never seen without his red head and wristbands.

Before you read the book, look at the cover with the kids. Count the sheep on the front. Talk about the title, ask the kids what they think it means. Have them guess how many brothers in the book.

Use this book as part of a sheep themed storytime and pair it with the book, Woolbur. Follow up by making lamb headbands with cotton balls. To make the kids look more like Davy, add a strip of red paper around the center of the headband. You can also use white and red paper to make wristbands. Play a game of Simon Says or assign one kid to be Davy and the rest to be the brothers. Then the brothers have to mimic Davy's actions. Make sure everyone gets a chance to be Davy.

If you’re reading this book to a group, I suggest memorizing the names of all of Davy’s brothers. You’ll have to repeat them several times in the book and it'll save you from trying to read the names upside down or sideways. The artwork is rather small, so this book is better for smaller groups.

If you can’t get your hands on this book immediately, check out the book trailer made by Cordell (I believe that's him on the kazoo and percussion as well). Read Erika Rohrbach’s interview with Cordell posted on the Kirkus Reviews website for more information on the inspiration and creation of this book.  


-Amy

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