cover image Poor Carl

Poor Carl

Nancy Carlson. Viking Children's Books, $11.95 (320pp) ISBN 978-0-670-81774-0

The older brother in this canine family finds plenty of reasons to pity his poor baby brother Carl. Carl can't get out of bed in the morning by himself or dress himself or feed himself (and he eats strained prunes instead of pancakes). ``But sometimes I wish I were Carl,'' the narrator says. Carl is fussed over and given presents by visitors, and he doesn't have to eat brussels sprouts or clear the table. And perhaps Carl's best piece of luck is that he has such a nice older brother. Carlson, author of the Harriet and Arnie books, is a sensitive writer who empathizes with children's dilemmas. Here she covers a wide range of emotionsfrom the brother's disdain for Carl's dependence to his envy of the attention he gets, to the pleasure he takes in having a new companionall in short, economical sentences that make the points simply. Bright, colorful illustrations have a two-dimensional quality not unlike children's drawings. Ages 3-8. (Mar.)