``I just know my big brother Mike doesn't like me,'' laments the narrator of this spunky first book. Here's why: Mike always grabs the prize out of the cereal box, hogs the remote control when the two watch TV and pushes his younger sibling too high on the swings. But, recalls the little fellow, there are times when Mike has been nice to him: he helped him bury his hamster when it died, supported him when he was picked on by some older kids and even let him clean out his bird cage. Reassured, the youngster concludes that ``my big brother likes me after all.'' But a flip of the page reveals that Mike is still Mike. It's fitting that the art delivers the punch line, for far more distinctive than Yaccarino's passable text are his sportive, highly stylized gouache illustrations. The brothers' facetiously disproportional appearances defy those of conventional picture book characters: Mike is coiffed with a luminous red pompadour, while his broader-faced brother's eyes are hidden behind oversized, opaque eyeglasses. Shades of rust, blue and green make their own bold statement in this visually offbeat take on sibling rivalry. Ages 4-7. (Mar.)
"I just know my big brother Mike doesn't like me," complains a young boy, cowering, as his older sibling looms large and ready to pounce in this comic tale of big-brother bullyism. Mike "always gets to the cereal box first" (snatching treats) and monopolizes the television remote control. He uses his brother as a drum and continually makes him the unwilling victim in a game of "rescue." But, despite all that, the boy remembers that "sometimes" Mike is very nice . . . Mike helped bury his hamster and comforted him when other kids called him a baby. While the illustrations by editorial artist Yaccarino are highly stylized and sometimes wildly out of proportion, their simple, solid shapes rendered in a few bold secondary colors (orange, aquamarine, emerald, violet) make them appealing; they display the artist's ability to use color, form, and composition to show feelings and make the children and objects easily identifiable. The exaggeration is a good match for the simple text--Mike is scarier when he appears larger than life. Children will laugh at the illustration that shows Mike trying to shove his brother, stamps affixed to forehead, into the mail box, but they will also recognize the truths of a sibling relationship marked often by bickering and bullying, but sometimes by friendship.