cover image My Brother is from Outer Space

My Brother is from Outer Space

Vivian Ostrow. Albert Whitman & Company, $14.95 (32pp) ISBN 978-0-8075-5325-1

Certain that aliens stole his real brother from the hospital nursery and substituted William in his place, Alex confronts his parents with the ""awful truth"" in this tongue-in-cheek take on sibling rivalry. Unconvinced by his parent's reassurances, Alex fills a notebook with evidence supporting his theory: William ""tries to copy human sleep behavior, but he gets it all wrong,"" because he tosses and turns, talks in his sleep and sometimes even falls off the bed. He plays basketball with ""superhuman"" powers and gets good grades even though he always clowns around at school. Ostrow, in her picture book debut, conveys a worthwhile message about accepting siblings' differences, but her occasionally rambling text lacks the zip and cleverness that the book's title seems to promise. More consistently entertaining, newcomer Brace's stylized illustrations, mostly acrylics with a bit of photo-collage, intermittently depicts the alleged alien with blue skin and antennae. The design appealingly features a typeface imitative of a child's uneven printing against blue-lined, notebook-page backgrounds. Ages 5-9. (Apr.)