Monday, June 14, 2010

One Upon a Baby Brother - A review

Last week I read a charming picture book that successfully looks at not one but at two themes. Sarah Sullivan looks at what it is like to have a new sibling in the house, and she explores the nature of artistic inspiration. Young writers in particular will enjoy this book, as the author shows us that material for stories can be found right under our noses, if we open our minds to the possibility. 




Once Upon a baby brother
Sarah Sullivan
Illustrated by Tricia Tusa
Picture Book
Ages 5 to 8
Farrar Straus and Giroux, 2010, 978-0-374-34635-5
   More than almost anything else in the world Lizzie likes to tell stories. She tells her mother and her father stories, and even Big George the dog gets to hear Lizzie’s tales – and he likes them too. Then one day baby Marvin arrives on the scene and Lizzie discovers that little brothers are not conducive to storytelling. Her parents are too busy to hear her stories now, and Big George is the only person at home who has time for her. Thankfully Lizzie’s new teacher, Miss Pennyroyal, loves stories too and she encourages her students to write and then share their stories. With her trusty Princess Merriweather pencil in hand and her Imagination Notebook to write in, Lizzie happily spins her yarns.
   Then the unthinkable happens. Lizzie is given a great writing assignment to do and she cannot come up with a single idea. Her head is empty and nothing, not even her Princess Merriweather pencil and her Imagination Notebook are able to get the creative juices flowing. Will Lizzie be faced with this terrible writer’s block forever?
   This delightful book not only looks at the problems associate with having a new little sibling in the house, but it also looks at the nature of inspiration. Sometimes inspiration can come from the most unlikely of places.
   With delightful illustrations and a deliciously creative text, this picture book is sure to be a big hit with readers who have a fondness for tales and storytelling.


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