Julius, the Baby of the World

( 13 )

Overview

The riotously funny Lilly, last seen in Chester's Way (Greenwillow), thinks her new baby brother, Julius, is disgusting—if he was a number, he would be zero. But when Cousin Garland dares to criticize Julius, Lilly bullies her into loudly admiring Julius as the baby of the world.

Julius is the baby of the world, said his parents. But Lilly, his older sister, disagreed. She thought he was disgusting. She hoped he would go away. But he didn't. He stayed and stayed and stayed. ...

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Overview

The riotously funny Lilly, last seen in Chester's Way (Greenwillow), thinks her new baby brother, Julius, is disgusting—if he was a number, he would be zero. But when Cousin Garland dares to criticize Julius, Lilly bullies her into loudly admiring Julius as the baby of the world.

Julius is the baby of the world, said his parents. But Lilly, his older sister, disagreed. She thought he was disgusting. She hoped he would go away. But he didn't. He stayed and stayed and stayed. Nothing her parents said or did could change Lilly's mind about Julius. But when Cousin Garland had a thing or two to say about the situation, Lilly had a change of heart.

Lilly is convinced that the arrival of her new baby brother is the worst thing that has happened in their house, until Cousin Garland comes to visit.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
PW commended Henkes for displaying ``a deep understanding of sibling rivalry and a child's fragile self-esteem'' in this hilarious and refreshing twist on the familiar theme of a new baby in the family. Ages 3-up. (Sept.)
Children's Literature - Marilyn Courtot
Lilly is convinced that the arrival of her new baby brother is the worst thing that has happened in their house, until cousin Garland comes to visit. It is a story that rings true and perfect for older siblings awaiting the arrival of a new family member. 1991 Notable Children's Book.
School Library Journal
It's the old familiar story of the displaced only child, freshly told and humorously illustrated. Lilly (of Chester's Way Greenwillow, 1988) is a very new, very unhappy big sister. Her parents dote on disgusting little Julius, ``the baby of the world,'' and cannot admire him enough. Lilly, however, annoys them by asking continually when he'll be going away so she can have her room back , and spends more and more time in the ``uncooperative chair.'' When she tries the baby tricks her parents so adore in Julius, they simply remind her to mind her manners. Plainly, there is no longer any justice in the world. Affairs are pretty bleak, until at a large family celebration, a cousin criticizes Julius. Like a tiger, Lilly springs to his defense. Magically, Henkes conveys a world of expressions and a wide range of complex emotions with a mere line or two upon the engaging mousey faces of Lilly and her family. A reassuring, funny book for all young children who suffer from new-sibling syndrome. --Joan McGrath, Education Centre Library, Toronto, Ontario, Canada
School Library Journal
PreS-Gr 2-This delightful reading of Kevin Henkes' book (HarperCollins, 1990) about sibling rivalry will please even the most reluctant new "big" brothers or sisters. Henkes' popular heroine, Lilly, is less than thrilled with baby brother Julius's arrival, competing for attention while her parents patiently direct her passive-aggressive anger toward more useful activities. Lilly surprises her audience, as well as herself, when she discovers the love for Julius that she's been hiding. Narrator Laura Hamilton's changes in inflection cleverly portray Lilly's harmless pranks and devilish sense of humor. Further drawing listeners into the text are minimal sound effects and appropriate musical interludes. Paired with Zac Morgan's song "The Cribling" (from When Bullfrogs Croak, Oct. 2003, p. 93), this title would make a wonderful addition to a "new sibling" story hour. An essential purchase for preschool and primary audio collections, it will be useful for emergent readers, group listening, and youngsters with new-siblingitis.-Kirsten Martindale, formerly Menomonie Public Library, WI Copyright 2004 Reed Business Information.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781591125235
  • Publisher: Live Oak Media
  • Publication date: 10/28/2003
  • Format: CD
  • Age range: 5 - 8 Years
  • Product dimensions: 8.10 (w) x 10.20 (h) x 0.50 (d)

Meet the Author

Kevin Henkes

Kevin Henkes is the author and illustrator of close to fifty critically acclaimed and award-winning picture books, beginning readers, and novels. He received the Caldecott Medal for Kitten's First Full Moon in 2005. Kevin Henkes is also the creator of a number of picture books featuring his mouse characters, including the #1 New York Times bestsellers Lilly's Big Day and Wemberly Worried, the Caldecott Honor Book Owen, and the beloved Lilly's Purple Plastic Purse. His most recent mouse character, Penny, was introduced in Penny and Her Song (2012); her story continued in Penny and Her Doll and Penny and Her Marble (a Geisel Honor Book). Bruce Handy, in a New York Times Book Review piece about A Good Day, wrote, "It should be said: Kevin Henkes is a genius." Kevin Henkes received two Newbery Honors for novels—one for his newest novel for young readers, The Year of Billy Miller, and the other for Olive's Ocean. Also among his fiction for older readers are the novels Junonia, Bird Lake Moon, The Birthday Room, and Sun & Spoon. He lives with his family in Madison, Wisconsin.

Kevin Henkes is the author and illustrator of close to fifty critically acclaimed and award-winning picture books, beginning readers, and novels. He received the Caldecott Medal for Kitten's First Full Moon in 2005. Kevin Henkes is also the creator of a number of picture books featuring his mouse characters, including the #1 New York Times bestsellers Lilly's Big Day and Wemberly Worried, the Caldecott Honor Book Owen, and the beloved Lilly's Purple Plastic Purse. His most recent mouse character, Penny, was introduced in Penny and Her Song (2012); her story continued in Penny and Her Doll and Penny and Her Marble (a Geisel Honor Book). Bruce Handy, in a New York Times Book Review piece about A Good Day, wrote, "It should be said: Kevin Henkes is a genius." Kevin Henkes received two Newbery Honors for novels—one for his newest novel for young readers, The Year of Billy Miller, and the other for Olive's Ocean. Also among his fiction for older readers are the novels Junonia, Bird Lake Moon, The Birthday Room, and Sun & Spoon. He lives with his family in Madison, Wisconsin.

Biography

Kevin Henkes still owns some of his favorite books from childhood. "They're brimming with all the telltale signs of true love: dog-eared pages, fingerprints on my favorite illustrations, my name and address inscribed on both front and back covers in inch-high lettering, and the faint smell of stale peanut butter on the bindings," he says in an interview on his web site.

Back in his peanut-butter sandwich days, Henkes dreamed of becoming an artist. By high school, he had combined his love of drawing with a newfound interest in writing, and at age 19, he took his portfolio to New York City in hopes of finding a publisher. Young Henkes returned home from his weeklong trip with a contract from Greenwillow Books, and he's worked as a children's writer and illustrator ever since.

Henkes's style has evolved over the years to include more humor, more whimsy and a lot more mice. Though he began illustrating his picture books with realistic drawings of children, he's since developed a recurring cast of mouse characters rendered in a more cartoon-like style -- though with a range of expressions that make the spirited Lilly, anxious Wemberly, fearless Sheila Rae and sensitive Chrysanthemum into highly believable heroines. Owen, the story of a little mouse who isn't ready to give up his tattered security blanket, won a Caldecott Honor Medal for its winsome watercolor-and-ink illustrations.

Many of Henkes's mouse books deal with such common childhood ordeals as starting school, being teased and getting lost. Chrysanthemum, about a mouse whose new schoolmates tease her about her name, was inspired by Henkes's own feelings when he started school. "The book is about family, and how starting something new and going out into the world can be very hard," he told an interviewer for The Five Owls. "I remember going to kindergarten -- my grandfather had a beautiful rose garden, and he gave me the last roses of the season to bring to the kindergarten teacher the next day. I don't even remember how it happened, but an older kid took these flowers from me on the playground, and I remember coming home, feeling awful." As a grown-up, Henkes is able to translate difficult childhood transitions into stories that are both honest and reassuring. In a review of Chrysanthemum, Kirkus Reviews noted: "Henkes's language and humor are impeccably fresh, his cozy illustrations sensitive and funny, his little asides to adults an unobtrusive delight."

Henkes has also written novels for older children, in which he "explores family relationships with breathtaking tenderness" (Publisher's Weekly). In The Birthday Room, for example, a twelve-year-old boy learns the reason for his mother's long estrangement from her brother, and helps effect a reconciliation. "Refreshingly, Henkes has given us a male protagonist who is reflective, creative and emotionally sensitive," wrote Karen Leggett in The New York Times Book Review. "Ben feels the anguish of his mother's long-simmering bitterness and his uncle's agonizing guilt. Yet at a time when it is almost a fad to blame dysfunctional families for problems, we learn that even though there are never simple answers and not many fairy-tale endings, families can heal."

Though his novels are more complex and serious than his picture books, all Henkes's works suggest an author with deep empathy for the intense emotions of childhood. As a Publisher's Weekly reviewer wrote, "Behind each book is a wide-open heart, one readers can't help but respond to, that makes all of Henkes's books of special value to children."

Good To Know

Henkes's wife, Laura Dronzek, is also an artist. She painted the cover illustration for Henkes' novel Sun and Spoon and illustrated his picture book Oh!.

Henkes has turned down requests to use his mouse characters in a television series, but some of his books are available in video form in Chrysanthemum and More Kevin Henkes Stories. The video's narrators include Meryl Streep, Sarah Jessica Parker and Mary Beth Hurt.

Lilly's Purple Plastic Purse has been adapted into a stage play.

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    1. Hometown:
      Madison, Wisconsin
    1. Date of Birth:
      November 27, 1960
    2. Place of Birth:
      Racine, Wisconsin
    1. Education:
      University of Wisconsin, Madison
    2. Website:

Customer Reviews

Average Rating 5
( 13 )
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Sort by: Showing all of 13 Customer Reviews
  • Posted March 15, 2012

    Amazing reviews from our personal Lilly!

    We are expecting a new member in our family and bought this after reading the reviews. Our little tyrant of a daughter told us how awful Lilly was and would keep saying how mean she was to her baby brother. We hope that baby Julius has influenced our little tyrant in a positive manner! Only a few more weeks to go in order to find out.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 20, 2010

    I Also Recommend:

    A must have for big brothers and sisters

    It is always nice to have a little present for the big brother or big sister when a baby is born. I turn to this story over and over. Lily is quite the character ... she is in many of Kevin Henkes books. She is not too sure about her brother until someone ELSE says something mean about him. It's a great story as is all of Kevin Henke's stories.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 15, 2008

    Miss Tapajna's Review

    Henkes does a wonderful job depicting the story of Lilly, a little mouse who is about to become a big sister. Before her younger sibling is born, she is the best big sister any mouse could ask for. However, when her brother, Julius, is born, Lilly began to feel jealous of him. She tries her hardest to get her parents to get rid of Julius. This and her other antics earn her several minutes in the time-out chair. Lilly's parents decide to throw a part for Julius and several relatives attend. One of Lilly's cousins begins to make fun of Julius, Lilly demands that her cousin take back her words and proclaim Julius the baby of the world! Henkes' illustrations addhumor and aide comprehension. This book would be great for early elementary age students possibly when discussing siblings or feelings.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 17, 2007

    Ms. Poggemoeller's Class Review

    The book was great! We really liked the end when Lilly was kind to Julius. We thought it was funny when Julius blew bubbles and then Lilly blew bubbles and got in trouble. We made a connection to this book too. It made us think about a kid we know that sometimes teases her little sister. This book was fantastic!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 7, 2006

    A very fun book to read

    I found this book in the library while looking for something to read to my 3yr old daughter. I had so much fun reading it to her I took it to work to read to my preschool class. They really loved it! The whole time I was reading it they commented on what a bad girl Lilly was being.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 3, 2006

    Cutest Book

    This was the cutest book I think I have ever read! My kids always want me to read it more and more and I can't get enough of it either. I actually taught my oldest child how to deal with the new baby coming with this book.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 6, 2005

    Mrs. Johnson's Class Reviews

    The book was funny and cute. We really like the story. We liked the characters, they were funny and nice. Lilly was mean but she was nice in the end. We liked the ending, it was cute and funny. The ending was really cool. It was weird that Lilly was mean to Julius. We definitly recommend this book to other teachers. We recommed this book to Kindergarteners and up.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 15, 2002

    A family favorite

    I discovered this book when my sister was expecting her second child. My nephew and I read this book MANY times those first couple years after his baby sister arrived. It was his favorite book! It was a great way to relate to an older child's feelings of jealousy over a new sibling! He also quit eating raisins after reading this book because Lilly said that 'raisins taste like dirt'. We still have a laugh about that one!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 25, 2001

    Perfect!!

    I was in the library, searching for Judy Blume's 'The Pain and the Great One' when I stumbled upon this book. My two older children are in grave competition with my younger daughter. When we read this book, my older daughter almost fell off the couch because she was laughing so hard. We have read this book again and again and particularly enjoy the Lily's wit and creativity in expressing her feelings about her new baby. A MUST read for anyone with children experiencing sibling rivalry. Smart and funny!!

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    Posted November 5, 2011

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    Posted June 29, 2010

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    Posted March 17, 2009

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    Posted October 9, 2011

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