School Library Journal
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PreS-Gr 3-In the beginning, it was Mom, Dad, and Davy. For years, the little sheep basked in the love of his small family. Then along came Petey, then Mike, and then Stu. The formerly close-knit family eventually becomes a mob, and Davy is stuck with "12 WHOLE BROTHERS," who nightmarishly copy his every move. Dad explains to Davy, "When they get older, your brothers will have their own interests. Then they won't copy you." It takes a while, but his father's prediction eventually comes to pass, much to Davy's chagrin. The pen-and-ink and watercolor artwork is filled with humorous detail. Think Richard Scarry's warmth and scale, with a minimalist approach to setting. The psychology of the oldest child is well chronicled here. With a delightfully fulfilling ending, Davy (and readers) realize that being the one and only sometimes means being alone, and lonely. The story is a great way to discuss life as a half-empty or half-full vessel, and the very human struggles of sibling rivalry.-Sara Lissa Paulson, American Sign Language and English Lower School PS 347, New York City (c) Copyright 2012. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
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Cordell's (Trouble Gum) goofy line drawings of Davy the sheep and his dozen copycat younger brothers provide an entertaining counterpoint to his poker-faced narrative. When Davy's parents, sitting in armchairs, dispense wisdom about copying-"It's only a phase, Davy"-Cordell's drawing makes it clear that sheep (at least this pair) don't really fit into armchairs. Mom's legs stick straight out in front of her, and Dad is slowly heading for the floor. A riotous sequence shows Davy's brothers chorusing "no" back at him, burping when he burps, and singing "la-la-la" along with him when he sticks his hooves in his ears in frustration. The brothers eventually lose interest, and Davy gets lonely-but only until an even smaller copycat arrives: "When he banged his elbow in the bathroom, Davy yelled, 'honkin' plunger!' From the next room came a little voice, 'honkin' plunger!' " Cordell's sympathy lies entirely with Davy, and he's in it for the laughs (he milks a lot of storytelling humor from the repetition of the 12 sheep's names). To the extent that there's a message, it's that younger siblings are adoring, fickle, and not going anywhere. Ages 4-6. (Jan.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.
From Booklist, Copyright © American Library Association. Used with permission.
Cordell (Trouble Gum, 2009) takes the old picture-book staple of an only child upset by the arrival of a new sibling and turns it up to 11. Well, 12 to be exact, as sheep-boy Davy is in short order crowded out of his parents' affections by Petey, Mike, Stu, Mickey, Carl, Pip, Ralph, Tate, Lenny, Gil, Ned, and Bob. Losing Mom and Dad is one thing, but what really gets Davy's goat is the way the simpering siblings are dead set on doing everything exactly as he does, from eating Toot Loops and walking like a monkey to glaring shifty-eyed and pulling his hair in exasperation. He finally gets his wish when they all learn a bit of independence and stop worshipping him, but the spread of Davy lying all alone in his awfully quiet, empty room at night stops the zany story dead in its tracks. A new, darling little sister with eyes only for her older brother saves the day. Funny and touching in equal measure, this is a sheepish look at how imitation is the sincerest form of flattery, even when it is super annoying.--Chipman, Ian Copyright 2010 Booklist