Big Little Brother

Big Little Brother

by Kevin Kling, Chris Monroe

This charming first children’s book by celebrated storyteller Kevin Kling, with whimsical drawings by Chris Monroe, traces a familiar arc from sibling rivalry to brotherly love.

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This charming first children’s book by celebrated storyteller Kevin Kling, with whimsical drawings by Chris Monroe, traces a familiar arc from sibling rivalry to brotherly love.

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
On top of sibling rivalry and displacement fears, the four-year-old narrator of this story has a bigger problem (literally): his two-year-old brother is taller than he is. “Now people think he is my older brother,” says the beleaguered, bespectacled boy. But when a bully threatens the narrator during pretend-play Thanks-giving preparations at daycare, having a big little brother comes in handy. Although the premise takes some suspension of disbelief, Ling, an adult author and NPR commentator, makes an assured children’s book debut. His narrator is endearingly nerdy and acutely observant: “He grabs the first donut he sees and holds it all day,” the boy says of his annoying sibling, later adding, “When he falls asleep at night, his hands unfold and donut crumbs fall out.” (Ling also sneaks in a joke about Thanksgiving dinner dynamics that should elicit a knowing grin from grownups.) Monroe (the Monkey with a Toolbelt series) has an eloquent, poignant ink line that gives her cartooning an empathic, deadpan vibe, and she gets a lot of comic mileage from the younger brother’s goggle-eyed, phlegmatic demeanor. It’s mumblecore for the picture-book crowd. Ages 4–8. (Nov.)
School Library Journal
K-Gr 1—"It's my own fault. I wanted a little brother,'" says the four-year-old narrator as he faces readers to begin this tale of birth order gone awry. He has been looking forward to bossing the little fellow around, but his plan crumbles when, at age two, his younger sibling is bigger than he is. And though the two-year-old still sleeps in a crib, wears diapers, and can't even talk, people mistake him for the older boy. Plus, he constantly follows his brother around, messes with his things, grabs doughnuts he doesn't even eat, and claims all of Mom's attention when he's afraid of monsters at night. However, when the narrator tries to stand up to a bully in the playroom, the sudden appearance of his big "little" brother provides just the right reinforcement, and "the kid walks away." Monroe's bright watercolor cartoons appear in vignettes and full-page paintings. They depict an older sibling who expresses his chagrin throughout. His narration, some of which appears in speech balloons, is appropriately childlike. His round-eyed brother wears an ever-present grin and seems oblivious to the consternation he is causing. This is a charming story made all the more refreshing by the absence of parental interference or moralizing. The boys become best buddies on their own, and now it is the younger child's older brother who sings away those monsters at bedtime. Children who experience their own sibling trials will readily relate to this story.—Marianne Saccardi, formerly at Norwalk Community College, CT
Kirkus Reviews
Having a little brother, even one long wished for, does not always go as planned; the reality can be both a blessing and a trial. Big Brother thought he would be in charge, but it turned out very differently. His little brother grew at an alarming rate, until he was taller and stronger, and people thought he was really the older one. Little Brother follows Big Brother everywhere, plays tricks on him and, worst of all, he touches all his toys. When Big Brother is bullied at the play center, he stands his ground, but it is the appearance of his big Little Brother that saves the day. Now all the annoying traits seem rather endearing, and they develop a mutually nurturing relationship. Big Brother tells his own story using vocabulary, sentence structure and syntax appropriate for a 4-year-old. There are no more than one or two sentences on each page, with occasional dialogue in bubbles. Kling does not overdramatize, and there's nothing preachy to detract from the boys' finding their own resolution. Monroe's minimalist, boldly hued cartoons carefully and humorously depict the action. Big Brother's emotional ups and downs are subtly expressed, while Little Brother mostly maintains an even-tempered smile. A sweet-natured tale about negotiating sibling dynamics that is as comforting as a hug. (Picture book. 3-6)
Pamela Paul
…clever, offbeat…Big Little Brother is an exceptionally funny and bittersweet book that any reader, young or old, who has been an older sibling will warm to.
—The New York Times

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Product Details

Minnesota Historical Society Press
Publication date:
Edition description:
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Product dimensions:
10.20(w) x 10.20(h) x 0.40(d)
Age Range:
3 - 7 Years

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