Thursday, October 25, 2012

Za-za's Baby Brother by Lucy Cousins - NOT RECOMMENDED

Cousins, Lucy Za-za's Baby Brother. 32 pgs. Candlewick Press, 2012 (reprint). $6.99. PICTURE BOOK. When Za-za's mommy gives birth to his little brother, his entire world is changed - and not for the better. Not only does Za-Za find himself playing alone while listening to all his neighbors coo over the new baby, but his parents don't have any time or energy for him, and he has to wait for every snack or scrap of attention until his parents are done tending to his brother. When Za-Za asks for just one little hug, his mother is too busy doing baby-related chores yet again, so she suggests that he hug the baby instead. He happily does so, and suddenly decides that - wow! - not only is his baby brother nice, but he's also fun to play with. From then on they are inseparable.

The resolution, coming after so much (understandable!) resentment and being pushed aside, is abrupt, unbelievable, and very uncharacteristic of the brothers. In truth, it's hard to believe that one hug would change any child's opinion of a baby brother who has been so coddled while he himself has been completely ignored. In addition, the story paints a very negative picture of sibling-hood and is choppy, with a very unclear timeline. Pre-K, EL (K-3) - NOT RECOMMENDED. Reviewed by: Caryn.

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