Tag Archives: sibling stories

Day 10, book 10: Chloe, instead by Micah Player

You know that saying, “You can’t choose your family”? Well, Micah Player’s rainbow bright picture book, Chloe, instead, might just have been inspired by this truism. It’s a kid’s eye view of the ups and downs of life with a sibling, a sibling who is nothing like you and more often than not, drives you bananas.

“I was hoping for a little sister who was just like me. But I got Chloe, instead.” So says the piano-playing narrator of this cute-as-a-button portrait of sisterhood, in its earliest stage. Big sister enjoys music, reading, and colouring. Chloe is simply crazy. She is chaos on two feet. Will these girls ever find common ground and figure out how to have fun, in spite of their differences? Of course they will, with the help of a little patience, some music, and groovy silly dancing, because isn’t that how it works in most families?

Adorable trailer alert:

I’m sure kids will be drawn to the bold style of Player’s artwork. The uncluttered layout of most of the pages really foregrounds the character’ facial expressions and interaction with each other. Chloe and her sister seem just as sassy and captivating as the candy coloured hues that pop on every page. Surprisingly, while the palette here is super bright, the whole package comes across as quite understated in its design, exactly what you’d expected from an illustrator who is also a seasoned graphic designer.

Chloe, instead is for hip sisters everywhere. Just tie a ribbon around it. When you’ve got a cover that snazzy, there’s no wrapping paper required.

Chloe, instead is published by Chronicle Books.

Day 2, book 2: Another Brother by Matthew Cordell

Like yesterday’s book, in Another Brother, Matthew Cordell takes a tried and true concept (the arrival of a new sibling) and brings it to a whole new level of adorable hilarity.

Why is it that it is almost universally true that every picture book gets funnier when there are animals in it? I mean, I’m sure Another Brother would still be something special if it was filled will all sorts of tiny human characters, but lots o’ little sheep? Now that’s genius.

“For four glorious years, Davy had Mom and Dad all to himself.” And so the story starts. Paradise ends for Davy when he gets a brother, and another, and another… until he has “12 WHOLE BROTHERS!” Of course, Davy might as well have 12 little shadows, since the ewe crew follows him wherever he goes and copies everything he does, which drives Davy bananas. But when Petey, Mike, Stu, Mickey, Carl, Pip, Ralph, Tate, Lenny, Gil, Ned, and Bob finally leave Davy alone, it is awful. Davy has never felt so lonely. Not to worry, there’s a surprise ending that guarantees smiles all round.

Cordell succeeds in capturing the mix of emotions felt by an older sibling when a younger sibling arrives. A little brother can be annoying, and hilarious, and fun, and crazy-making. Now imagine all of that, times 12. It automatically takes everything to a funnier place, not to mention 12 little sheep on almost every page provides the reader with so much to look at. And Cordell doesn’t disappoint in that department. Each sheep has an expression and attitude worth noticing. There’s a whole lot of silly in the cartoonish illustrations.

Perhaps one of the lessons here is to always be grateful for little sisters, since you could have had ANOTHER BROTHER. Little sisters rock. I love the way the book communicates some of the nutty unpredictability of family life. There are laughs on every page, for every family member.

You must watch the trailer, because it has outrageously cute kazoo music in it:

And grab a coffee before you go read 7 Imp’s feature with Matthew. It’s stellar.

Another Brother is published by Feiwel + Friends.