cover image We Are Brothers, We Are Friends

We Are Brothers, We Are Friends

Alexandra Penfold, illus. by Eda Kaban. Farrar, Straus and Giroux, $16.99 (32p) ISBN 978-0-374-30201-6

Sibling rivalry? What sibling rivalry? Penfold’s cheerful big brother narrator is totally cool with having a baby brother. He looks forward to “adventures, just the two of us,” that include pretend play with “trains, and planes, and how to be a dinosaur.” Most poignantly, he promises, “When you cry... I will hear you first.” Kaban (Even Superheroes Have Bad Days)—whose crisp lines, bright colors, and eager-eyed characterizations bring to mind 1960s animation—builds some wonderful images from Penfold’s (Eat, Sleep, Poop) words. The dinosaur scene shows the brothers transformed into giant, green carnivores, snacking on vehicles while tiny citizens scatter; when the older boy promises to comfort his brother, a wordless sequence has him displaying impressive superhero moves as he retrieves a dropped pacifier. The story sets a high bar for readers who are struggling with displacement: what kid readily wants to “share my “best toys and my mama and my dada, too,” with an interloper? But it’s hard to imagine that parents will fault Penfold and Kaban for bringing a little optimism to the table. Ages 2–6. [em]Author’s agent: Susan Ginsburg, Writers House. Illustrator’s agency: Shannon Associates. (Feb.) [/em]