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Big Brothers Don't Take Naps

Overview

Nicholas looks up to his big brother, James. James does all kinds of things that only older brothers can do—like write his name, read books, cross the street, and ride the school bus. But there’s one thing James doesn’t do: take a nap. Because big brothers don’t take naps. James assures Nicholas that someday he’ll be able to do all the things James does. And when the brothers begin to share a very special secret, it looks like that special day may be approaching very soon….

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Overview

Nicholas looks up to his big brother, James. James does all kinds of things that only older brothers can do—like write his name, read books, cross the street, and ride the school bus. But there’s one thing James doesn’t do: take a nap. Because big brothers don’t take naps. James assures Nicholas that someday he’ll be able to do all the things James does. And when the brothers begin to share a very special secret, it looks like that special day may be approaching very soon….

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
Young Nick adores his big brother—and what's not to like? When it comes to older siblings, James is a Platonic ideal: confident, competent (he can dial his grandparents' phone number all by himself), infinitely patient, and inclusive. He mentors Nick (teaching him to count backward so they can pretend they're rocket ships), reads to him, shows him animal pictures online, and, as Borden (The Lost-and-Found Tooth) writes, James "always stops and waits for me to catch up. Every time." But most important, James helps Nick come to terms with a big and fast approaching "surprise"—the arrival of a baby sister—by telling him that he'll be joining the brotherhood of big brothers, whose member privileges include not taking naps. Dodd (I Don't Want a Cool Cat!) excels at articulating a preschooler's point of view—her bold black outlines, bright preschool palette, and roundheaded characters are the essence of eager earnestness and unalloyed love. If older brother James is perhaps too understanding, the story remains a tender portrait of sibling affection. Ages 3–7. (June)
Children's Literature - Heidi Hauser Green
Nicholas (a.k.a. Nick) adores his big brother, James. James is a source of both information and fun. From him, Nicholas learns how to spell his name (both ways), and he learns that big brothers do not need to take naps. He learns that they do have to rake leaves, and he learns about trick-or-treating. Nicholas learns a special secret from James, and promptly shares it with the dogs. (James, meanwhile, shares it with their grandparents.) Nicholas enjoys Christmas Eve anticipation with James, and winter fun in James' old snowsuit. Nicholas learns about crossing the street safely and using his manners from James, as well as running, counting, reading, and more. Mostly, he learns about how to be a good big brother. That is an important and timely lesson; readers see this in the last pages as the boys work to "think up names for [their] special secret." Then the big day arrives. With baby Grace's arrival, Nicholas becomes the big brother James has taught him to be—and no longer has to take naps. This heartwarming story shows how important older siblings can be in helping younger children transition to their new role in the family, and it may be a good selection for helping children adjust to a new baby. However, parents who are not ready for their youngsters to give up naps upon the arrival of an infant sibling may want to choose another "new sibling" book for this purpose, such as Child Play's New Baby four-book series. Reviewer: Heidi Hauser Green
School Library Journal
PreS-Gr 1—Nicholas admires and pays great attention to everything his big brother does, and one important thing he doesn't do, as revealed in the title. James is a patient teacher and role model for his younger sibling, including him in many activities, watching over him, sharing with Nick, and teaching him to count backwards and use his good manners. When the two boys work together on a list of names for a "special event" to take place in June, the older boy lets his brother make the definitive choice. Of course, the surprise is a baby sister, which makes Nicholas a big brother himself. Bright pastel, digitally rendered illustrations span autumn, winter, and spring and show the brothers and their ever-present dogs in a loving, noncompetitive relationship. Becoming a big brother is an important event, and many prospective older siblings will enjoy this story of another milestone in growing up.—Maryann H. Owen, Racine Public Library, WI
Kirkus Reviews

Little brother Nicholas adores big brother James, who serves as a great role model in this story about a loving, and expanding, family.

Nicholas anticipates the day when he won't have to take naps, and he sees lots of other positive things about growing up as he witnesses James go to school, read, type on Dad's computer, etc. James is an ideal older sibling: protective, supportive, patient and kind. Together, they look forward to a "special secret" in June, which readers may well figure out before book's end. The biggest clue comes with James and Nicholas hunched over a sheet of paper covered in girls' names scrawled in childish handwriting. Nicholas reports, "...my big brother lets me draw the circle around the one we like best." Closing endpapers reveal that their chosen name is Grace, where their new baby sister's name is circled and serves as a satisfying conclusion to this sweet family story. Throughout, Dodd's digital art employs bold line and vibrant color, rendering playful illustrations that match the text's tone and recall Lauren Child's and Ken Wilson-Max's illustration styles.

A fine addition to the extended family of new-baby books, with a welcome nod to the middle child. (Picture book. 3-5)

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781416955030
  • Publisher: Margaret K. McElderry Books
  • Publication date: 6/14/2011
  • Pages: 32
  • Sales rank: 962,129
  • Age range: 3 - 7 Years
  • Lexile: 660L (what's this?)
  • Product dimensions: 11.16 (w) x 10.22 (h) x 0.38 (d)

Meet the Author

Louise Borden graduated from Denison University with a degree in history. She taught first graders and preschoolers and later was a part-owner of a bookstore in Cincinnati, Ohio. In addition to writing children’s books, she also speaks regularly to young students about the writing process. Her books include Good Luck, Mrs. K!, which won the Christopher Medal, and The A+ Custodian. She lives in Cincinnati, Ohio, and you can visit her at LouiseBorden.com.

Emma Dodd's art style and vivid colors have been called “just right for preschool audiences” by Kirkus Reviews and she is the award-winnning creator of such children's books as What Pet to Get?, I Don't Want a Posh Dog and I Don't Want a Cool Cat. She makes her home in Surry, England.

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