Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Book Review: I'm A Big Brother

Book Review: I'm A Big Brother, by Joanna Cole, Illustrated by Maxie Chambliss.


I was introduced to this book shortly after my second birthday. My parents gave it to me as a "gift" apparently to prepare me for the upcoming arrival of my brother, Evan. Let me start with this: on a scale of 1 to 5 stars, with 5 the highest, I rate this book at a .5 star. That is right 1/2 of one star. The book is almost unreadable.

The premise:
The book is basically about a boy of unidentified age who's parents bring home a baby brother. The story paints a picture of a helpless newborn, who cries to communicate and is so small that he leaves all of the pizza and ice-cream eating to his "lucky" big brother. In the end the big brother recognizes that although his home has been taken over by a screaming 8 lb bundle "of joy" who steals all of the attention with his non-stop wailing and poopy diapers, big brother is not only special, he is extra special because, well he is a big brother.... yadda, yadda yadda.

The reality:

Joanna Cole is not pulling the wool over any one's eyes. We see through her sophomoric attempt to minimize the misery of a family's "new addition". While her prose eludes to the benefits of being an older sibling who can "eat pizza, and apples and ice cream!", her tone is decidedly patronizing, and very transparent.

In addition, the illustrations are incredibly amateurish. In fact, I found myself wondering if a family this unattractive could ever exist (happily) in today's society. Both mother and father are drawn as chubby caricatures, and look like they are themselves, brother and sister, rather than procreating adults. The kids, are illustrated in such manner that would suggest that mom & dad hit them with an ugly stick, or were paying back an unimaginable debt to the devil.

In conclusion: Give this book a pass. Pure propaganda.


  1. So I guess I shouldn't suggest it to my book group?

  2. hmmm, I actually beg to differ, I stumbled upon this book and few others at used book stores while pregnant with my second, I scooped up anything I could find that related to bringing home a baby. My 3 year old son at the time did not find the author patronizing, nor the caricatures of the parents to be ugly, but I guess he still has plenty of years left to become so negative and judgmental. Its one of the many albeit yes, kinda cheesy little books out there you can find for .99 cents, read a few nites in a row, and open up the dialog about the upcoming "misery" then move on.

  3. I think you have great insight into the mind of a toddler "welcoming" a new sibling into the household!

  4. Hey mama on the move, wasn't trying to be judgemental, just funny....did you not get it? You know, a silly scenario if a child could write a book review. It was humor. Ha. Sorry you didn't enjoy it.

  5. Guess you had to be there...