Chicago-based illustrator Matthew Cordell's pen and watercolor work are reminiscent of the free and easy drawings of William Steig, or Quentin Blake, fused with the hijinks and wide-eyed expressions of a Gary Larson Far Side cartoon. It's the sort of expressive humor you just don't see often enough in children's books. This is the second book Cordell has both authored and illustrated. His first, Trouble Gum, is one of our household's favorites - a silly story about two pig brothers and their bubble gum shenanigans. Another Brother is equally silly but involves a more serious dilemma: adjusting to the arrival of a new brother, or in this case, twelve.
For four glorious years life was good for Davy, a sheep who has a penchant for knitting, singing ballads, and wearing a red sweatband. But everything changed when he got a brother, and then another, and another, and another... Now Davy's once lauded achievements take a back seat to his younger brothers' crying, spitting up, and potty needs. And if that weren't enough, they follow him everywhere, mimicking his every move. I won't give away the ending, but Davy has a change of heart when one day his brothers start developing independent interests.
Cordell is definitely shooting for the tickle bone, but it's the kind of laugh that will make older siblings shake their heads and smile in appreciation of Davy's plight.
(Images: Ben Partridge)