cover image When My Brother Gets Home

When My Brother Gets Home

Tom Lichtenheld. Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, $17.99 (40p) ISBN 978-1-328-49805-2

As a ponytailed child waits on the sidewalk in front of her home with her dog and cat, she imagines all the wonderful things she’ll do with her brother when he gets home from school. On the agenda: a backyard tea party, a “comic book convention” in their tree house (the siblings are shown as silhouettes through gold-hued leaves), the construction of a massive cardboard box castle, and much more. Lichtenheld (Ten Rules of the Birthday Wish) uses a recurring two-spread structure to build momentum: the girl addresses the reader from her sidewalk perch (“When my brother gets home...”), while the opposite page shows a crayoned picture of his bus journey. The second spread offers an exuberant imagining of the hoped-for activity, cartooned in pencil, watercolor, and colored pencil. Readers with cranky older siblings may keep waiting for the hammer to drop, but it never does: “MY BROTHER’S HOME!” shouts the girl on his arrival, and as the pair walks away from the reader, the boy asks, “So what do you want to do?” It’s a touching story of anticipation rewarded and unalloyed affection reciprocated. Ages 4–7. [em]Agent: Amy Rennert, the Amy Rennert Agency. (Mar.) [/em]