cover image RAYMIE, DICKIE AND THE BEAN: Why I Love and Hate My Brothers

RAYMIE, DICKIE AND THE BEAN: Why I Love and Hate My Brothers

Ray Romano, with Richard and Robert Romano, illus. by Gary Locke. . S&S, $17.95 (32pp) ISBN 978-0-689-86451-3

Ah, brotherly love. As most siblings know, this commodity rarely comes without wedgies, noogies and a good bit of teasing. Such is certainly the case for comedian/TV star Romano (CBS's Everybody Loves Raymond ) whose funny and warm picture-book debut captures the childhood dynamic of a 10-year-old Raymond ("Raymie") and brothers 12-year-old Dickie and Robert "the Bean," who is four. "Sometimes I love my brothers. Sometimes I hate them," Romano begins; a family outing to a local amusement park provides ample support for both statements. Though Raymie drops his cotton candy and must accompany Bean to the park bathroom, he still manages to have a good time. In and around the typical boys-will-be-boys behavior, Romano reveals flashes of compassion and genuine caring without ever letting down his humorous guard and getting too emotional. The tone seems a logical extension of the sitcom persona viewers have come to love. Locke, an editorial cartoonist making his picture-book debut, crafts exaggerated, velvety-textured oil portraits that capture Romano's features and bear a solid resemblance to a family snapshot on the book jacket. The artwork has a general fluidity that conveys the boys' rambunctious, roughhousing nature and also renders their pronounced facial expressions more realistic. A CD recording of Romano reading the story is included. Ages 4-7. (Mar.)