But I Wanted a Baby Brother!

What It Is

Oliver Keaton is a little boy who desperately wants a baby brother. When his mom comes home from the hospital with his baby sister, Oliver’s sure it’s a “mistake.” While everyone “oohs” and “ahhs” over baby Julie, Oliver’s frustration grows. He gets the idea to trade his baby sister for one of his friends’ baby brothers. However, when proposing the idea to a couple of friends, who eagerly say yes because their baby brothers cry all day AND night, he reconsiders. Perhaps Baby Julie isn’t all that bad… by comparison, she laughs, waves and (most importantly!) sleeps through the night.

After a year-long search for the perfect baby brother, Oliver realizes that he prefers his own baby sister more than any of the 106 baby boys that he observed. In fact, Julie’s pretty terrific after all. As the story ends, Oliver learns that his mom is expecting another baby and his hopes for a brother rise again. Guess what?! The baby turns out to be another girl!!

Why It’s Fun

Kate Feiffer masterfully captures the angst of a youngster who wasn’t “blessed” with the desired gender for a sibling. The story is both endearing and humorous, and Oliver’s clever “autobiography” at the beginning sets up his state of mind, enabling us to sympathetically follow along on his plight. Oliver is a spunky lad, which shows through the text, “thought bubbles” and illustrations. We also see Oliver’s conflicted feelings as he starts to realize that his baby sister is pretty cool, yet still yearns for a baby brother. A favorite “scene” will surely be when he enters the rest room at the zoo, encouraged by a sign that says “Change Babies Here.” Excited about the opportunity to exchange Julie for a boy, he seeks a quick escape once he get a “whiff” of what “change” really means… dirty, smelly diapers!

Who’s Going To Love It

Hot off the press, this new book is terrific for all “big” siblings-to-be and a potentially useful “tool” for parents and caregivers as they encourage little ones to discuss their feelings. The message is clear: Siblings of both genders may have their “plusses” and “minuses”, but what’s important is that there is something special about each of us. The recommended age of 4- to 8-years is right-on, though long-term “read again” potential may be limited once a real life baby brother or sister grows up. With a male main character, it’s a great “big-brother-to-be” gift, but it’s humor and message makes it a good pick for girls as well.

Reading Time

About five minutes.

Read-It-Again Points

9 out of 10

Book Information

But I Wanted a Baby Brother!
By: Kate Feiffer, Illustrated by Diane Goode
Published by: Simon & Schuster (2010)
Approximate retail price: $16.99 (hardcover)

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