cover image Dear Brother

Dear Brother

Frank Asch, Vladimir Vagin. Scholastic, $13.95 (0pp) ISBN 978-0-590-43107-1

The spirit of glasnost lives on in this collaboration from the Russian and American creators of Here Comes the Cat! While cleaning out the attic, mouse brothers Joey and Marvin discover a box of old letters, which turn out to be the correspondence between another pair of siblings: great-great-granduncles Henry and Timothy. Joey and Marvin read on through the night and get a history lesson while forming a clearer image of their ancestors. The story is interspersed with blue-bordered replicas of the old letters, embellished with artwork and decorative script. The siblings' excitement over their find is nicely matched by the energetic anecdotes recorded by their relatives. The slender hands and feet and long eyelashes of these anthropomorphic mice help make their mannerisms believable. Rich gouache and watercolor paintings depict a verdant, hilly landscape and homey details such as vivid patchwork quilts and an Amish-inspired hope chest. This understated tale of brotherhood speaks volumes on the value of family. Ages 6-9. (Mar.)