Once Upon a Baby Brother

( 1 )

Overview

Lizzie loves to make up stories and tell them to anyone and everyone, even though now that her annoying baby brother, Marvin, has joined the family, no one has time to listen.  She's so full of ideas, it seems like nothing can stop her. And then one day, something does. What’s a star writer to do?

Lizzie finds inspiration where she least expects it in this funny picture book, illustrated with energy and pizzazz by award-winning artist ...

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Overview

Lizzie loves to make up stories and tell them to anyone and everyone, even though now that her annoying baby brother, Marvin, has joined the family, no one has time to listen.  She's so full of ideas, it seems like nothing can stop her. And then one day, something does. What’s a star writer to do?

Lizzie finds inspiration where she least expects it in this funny picture book, illustrated with energy and pizzazz by award-winning artist Tricia Tusa.

Once Upon a Baby Brother is a 2011 Bank Street - Best Children's Book of the Year.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
“From the day she could talk, Lizzie loved to tell stories,” writes Sullivan (Dear Baby: Letters from Your Big Brother)--no mean storyteller herself--as Tusa (The Sandwich Swap), in the first of many slyly funny watercolors, shows the heroine, then a toddler, standing on a stack of books in her crib and acting out a narrative with toys for her rapt dog. The arrival of a little brother, Marvin, threatens to induce writer’s block, but thanks to an inspirational second-grade teacher, an assignment to write a comic book, and Marvin’s fortunately timed trip to Gramma’s, Lizzie discovers that a new sibling can actually be a girl’s best muse. Sullivan and Tusa seem to know in their bones that writing can be so all-consuming that lunchtime and recess pale by comparison. Bits of stories are interspersed (“After slaying dragons in the forest, the princess gave a surprise birthday party for the king”), underlining Lizzie’s inherent creativity, and even when Lizzie sits at her desk with her back turned to the audience, readers will know they’re witnessing a girl who’s utterly in the zone. Ages 5-8. (June)
From the Publisher
Sullivan has found an oblique way to write about the ups and downs of a school-age child adjusting to a much younger sibling, and she carries it out with skill.” —Booklist

This title provides a creative twist on the new-sibling theme…a good choice to share with children coping with and learning to accept a new sibling.” —School Library Journal

Bits of stories are interspersed (“After slaying dragons in the forest, the princess gave a surprise birthday party for the king”), underlining Lizzie’s inherent creativity, and even when Lizzie sits at her desk with her back turned to the audience, readers will know they’re witnessing a girl who’s utterly in the zone.” —Publishers Weekly

Funny and useful” —Kirkus Reviews

Children's Literature - Phyllis Kennemer
Lizzie loved to tell stories. Before she was old enough to go to school she entertained her mother's coworkers with tales of successful young girls; she shared original fairy tales while mountain climbing with her father; and she created countless dog adventures for Big George, her pet dog. Life seemed perfect for Lizzie until her brother Marvin was born. Her parents were much too busy taking care of Marvin to listen to stories. A discouraged Lizzie was delighted to meet Mrs. Pennyroyal, her second grade teacher. Finally she had someone who appreciated her stories again. Although Marvin continued to cause problems at home, school was wonderful. Then Marvin became the source of inspiration for many of Lizzie's stories. Her imagination soared and she came to appreciate her little brother. The illustrations express humor and action. The audience for this book is older than the usual picture book crowd. Lines from Lizzie's stories are shown, sometimes in italics and sometimes as reproductions of writing on notebook paper. Hints about writing fiction are included in the text. A possible choice for encouraging creative writing with aspiring authors. Reviewer: Phyllis Kennemer, Ph.D.
School Library Journal
Gr 4—This title provides a creative twist on the new-sibling theme. Lizzie, a passionate, gifted storyteller and writer, receives a lot of attention until her brother is born. As Marvin gets bigger, he messes up her bedroom, spills her oatmeal, and decorates her favorite stuffed bear with golden glitter. The second grader finds an outlet for her jealousy and anger by writing stories: about a beautiful princess who banishes an ugly prince to a desert island, a scary Marvinosaurus, a dangerous Marvinfish. She entertains her teacher and class by acting the stories out while telling them. Everyone is captivated by confident and prolific Lizzie's abilities. Miss Pennyroyal's new assignment is to create a comic-book character "who will have lots of adventures." With a deadline looming, Lizzie develops a serious case of writer's block—"something was missing." Then an unexpected dose of inspiration comes from her little brother when he returns home from visiting Gramma. Expressive watercolor and ink cartoon illustrations done in soft hues have humorous elements, such as young Marvin standing on a stack of books in his crib. This is a good choice to share with children coping with and learning to accept a new sibling.—Anne Beier, Hendrick Hudson Free Library, Montrose, NY
Kirkus Reviews
Lizzie, an exuberant second grader, loves to write stories. Her parents are her best audience-that is, until her baby brother is born. Suddenly the only one who seems to have time to listen is the dog. As Lizzie fights for attention in her house, she takes refuge in her writing and discovers a new muse-her annoying baby brother. She starts creating stories using baby Marvin as her villain and can barely keep up with the wealth of ideas that this fuels. Then her mother takes Marvin for a visit to Grandma's, and Lizzie gets to enjoy some quiet time with her dad. She discovers, however, that the space Marvin leaves is bigger than she thought and welcomes his return with new appreciation. Sullivan's prose is a bit wordy, but the fresh take on the new-sibling theme with an empowering female character makes up for its weaknesses. Tusa's cheerful black-lined watercolors do a nice job expressing Lizzie's creative spirit, expanding on the gaps left in the text to fill them with humor. Funny and useful. (Picture book. 3-6)
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780374346355
  • Publisher: Farrar, Straus and Giroux
  • Publication date: 6/8/2010
  • Edition description: First Edition
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 32
  • Sales rank: 1,002,487
  • Age range: 5 - 8 Years
  • Product dimensions: 9.20 (w) x 8.60 (h) x 0.40 (d)

Meet the Author

Sarah Sullivan is the author of Dear Baby: Letters from Your Big Brother (0763621269), illustrated by Paul Meisel.  She lives in West Virginia.

Tricia Tusa’s  illustrations appear in many acclaimed picture books, including the Charlotte Zolotow Honor Book In a Blue Room (978-0152059927) by Jim Averbeck.  She lives in New Mexico.

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Customer Reviews

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Sort by: Showing 1 Customer Reviews
  • Posted May 19, 2010

    more from this reviewer

    New Brother

    "Once Upon a Baby Brother" by Sarah Sullivan was just perfect. It was Grandbabe boy's actually birthday as Grandbabe girl's birthday was the day before. It was so fun to hear the fantastic stories that Lizzie makes up. But with a new baby brother in the house it is harder to get anyone to notice her. But never fail Lizzie can come up with a great new story.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
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