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But I Wanted a Baby Brother!

But I Wanted a Baby Brother!

by Kate Feiffer

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Oliver is thrilled that his mother is expecting a baby and convinced that his new sibling will be the brother of his dreams. Imagine his shock and disappointment when a little sister shows up instead! Oliver is determined to do what it takes to find a boy baby—even if that means trading in his sister— but when his hilarious efforts are unsuccessful, he


Oliver is thrilled that his mother is expecting a baby and convinced that his new sibling will be the brother of his dreams. Imagine his shock and disappointment when a little sister shows up instead! Oliver is determined to do what it takes to find a boy baby—even if that means trading in his sister— but when his hilarious efforts are unsuccessful, he comes to realize that no one can take the place of his family’s lovable new addition…even if she’s a girl.

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
When Oliver gets a baby sister instead of a brother, he's the only one who realizes that a mistake has been made. “In fact, everyone looked very happy, as if there had been no mistake at all,” writes Feiffer, previously paired with Goode on My Mom Is Trying to Ruin My Life. Taking matters into his own hands, Oliver tries to trade bald, unflappable Julie away for friends' baby brothers, and even braves the toxic-smelling baby-changing room at the zoo (“This is where you go to change your girl baby for a boy baby,” he explains), only to be thwarted by his growing attachment. The text offers a string of mildly funny incidents on its way to an expected ending, but Goode's wry, fluid watercolor cartooning presents a terrifically expressive cast, especially Oliver, Julie, and their dog, Chaplin. Her ink lines are the very definition of verve, her sense of comic detailing is faultless (the changing room scene is particularly vivid), and her Lilly Pulitzer palette offers plenty of visual clues that a happy ending is on the way. Ages 4-8. (May)
Children's Literature - Ken Marantz and Sylvia Marantz
All young Oliver has wanted "for my entire life" is a baby brother. When his parents come home with a baby sister named Julie, everyone seems happy except Oliver (and his dog Chaplin). He is very disappointed. He tries trading with friends who have brothers. He even searches in the park. But somehow none of those boy babies look as smart or as much fun as Julie. Excited by a sign that says, "Change Babies Here," Oliver is horrified to discover this means diaper changing: "Pee-yew!" Oliver and Chaplin keep looking for a boy baby in vain. After a year, they give up. By then, however, Julie has become fun. When another baby is due, Oliver's hopes rise again. The end is a sure-fire chuckle. Goode uses casually applied watercolors to tell the visual story in sequences of sketchy vignettes with occasional speech balloons to spark the brief text. Oliver is a perky redhead; Chaplin adds comic behavior as he frequently copies Oliver's actions, even "reading" the Classified Ads. This is a useful addition to the books on siblings. Reviewer: Ken Marantz and Sylvia Marantz
School Library Journal
K-Gr 3—This clever cautionary tale is nothing short of spectacular. Oliver Keaton is sure he is about to get a baby brother. Much to his chagrin, baby Julie arrives, on Groundhog's Day—a good metaphor that sets the tone for the story. He attempts to trade his well-behaved baby sister for a brother. He discovers that his friends' baby brothers cry all day long, or are up all night, and scraps that option, but Oliver continues his quest to find the perfect one. In one funny scene, he notices a sign at the zoo that says, "Change Babies Here," and figures this would be the perfect place to exchange his sibling; crying babies go in, and happy babies come out. He goes inside, and the odor has him running for cover. Observant Oliver becomes quite insightful and discriminating as he compares and contrasts Julie's positive qualities to those of other babies, and a strong, protective bond develops. Then Mom and Dad announce that they are expecting again and Oliver imagines the fun "guy" activities he will someday share with his new unborn brother. How will he feel if it's another sister? The watercolor illustrations include cartoon characters with a lot of expression and an adorable Julie always dressed in pink. Some pages use ellipses, which will keep readers guessing and turning pages to get to the next plot point. The ending of this tale is heartwarming and satisfying. This wise and humorous selection is a winner for storytime or sharing one-on-one.—Anne Beier, Hendrick Hudson Free Library, Montrose, NY
Kirkus Reviews
In his one-page autobiography, Oliver Keaton makes it manifest that he wants a baby brother-and he knows he's getting one. So, when a cherubic baby sister arrives swaddled in pink, he's convinced it's a mistake. Even when his parents say baby Julie looks just like him, he isn't satisfied, because, he deduces, she would then be a he! Oliver decides to replace Julie and spends the next year (and 17 hours) trying to find a suitable swap. No other baby seems quite good enough, smart enough or fun enough. His hopes are further dashed when the room labeled "Change Babies Here" smells so awful he has to flee before trading. Eventually, Oliver resigns himself to enjoying Julie's good qualities; after all, she's even learned to throw a ball. But when Oliver's parents announce another pregnancy . . . . Feiffer's text has just the right amount of wry understatement for Goode's playful watercolors to work with, delivering plenty of chuckles. Together they make a warm-hearted and witty story that will bring families together whether or not they are expecting a new baby. (Picture book. 3-7)

Product Details

Simon & Schuster/Paula Wiseman Books
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File size:
11 MB
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Age Range:
4 - 8 Years

Meet the Author

Kate Feiffer is a writer, a filmmaker, and a mother. She is the author of the picture books No Go Sleep!; President Pennybaker; But I Wanted a Baby Brother!; The Wild, Wild Inside; Which Puppy?; My Mom Is Trying to Ruin My Life; and Double Pink; and of the middle-grade novels Signed by Zelda and The Problem with the Puddles. She lives with her family on Martha’s Vineyard, Massachusetts. Visit her at KateFeiffer.com.
Diane Goode is the illustrator of dozens of beloved and critically acclaimed picture books, including several written by Cynthia Rylant: Alligator Boy; When I Was Young in the Mountains, a Caldecott Honor Book; and most recently, Baby Face: A Book of Love for Baby. She is also the illustrator of President Pennybaker and My Mom is Trying to Ruin My Life, both by Kate Feiffer. She lives and works in Watchung, New Jersey, with her husband, David, and their two dogs, Jack and Daisy. Visit her at web.mac.com/goodedog.

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