cover image When I Am Eight

When I Am Eight

Joan Lowery Nixon. Dial Books, $14.89 (32pp) ISBN 978-0-8037-1500-4

Fans of Judith Viorst's I'll Fix Anthony will instantly recognize the tune in this less vindictive but far blander tale of a younger sibling's plans for the future. Without the benefit of Nixon's customary wit ( That's the Spirit, Claude ), the protagonist here looks forward to turning eight, at which point he will do everything his older brother does, only bigger and better. In each scene, the older brother plays his part faithfully by excluding the younger brother. Told that he's too little to join the older boy's baseball game, for example, the younger replies with the refrain, ``Who cares?'' buoyed by the dream of receiving a bat and glove made especially for ``The Best Baseball Player in the Whole World and Not for His Big Brother.'' Similarly, his bike and videos are the slickest, and his birthday cake, gargantuan. Gackenbach's ( Mighty Tree ; the Adam Joshua stories) pink-faced, cartoony watercolors are bright and lively, but don't extend the text's ``so there!'' message. Ages 4-7. (Feb.)