cover image I Wish My Brother Was a Dog

I Wish My Brother Was a Dog

Carol Diggory Shields. Dutton Books, $14.99 (32pp) ISBN 978-0-525-45464-9

What to do with an annoying baby brother? The fast-talking boy in this jaunty picture book thinks he has the perfect solution: life would be a whole lot easier if his brother Andy were a dog instead of an inquisitive infant. After all, a dog wouldn't make a mess at the table, because it would eat on the floor. A dog wouldn't mess up the toys, sleep in a squeaky crib or crawl around in stinky diapers, either. The quick-thinking protagonist gleefully rattles off the pros of being a dog, much like a practiced salesman hoping to strike a deal, but ultimately he realizes that he would miss having a brother, annoying or not. Shields (previously paired with Meisel for I Am Really a Princess) playfully captures the sometimes intense and angry feelings children can have toward siblings, wishing a brother or sister might just disappear (or in this case, get blasted away in a makeshift spacecraft, or sold, or at least given a big shot by the vet). Meisel's comical images of a consistently sweet-smiling baby and a sometimes sardonic-faced older sibling give free rein to the protagonist's active imagination and also reassure readers that he means no true harm. Sunny scenes of infant Andy burying bones, howling at the moon and competing in a dog show are a good laugh. Ages 4-8. (June)