Oh, Brother!

Common Sense Media says

Boy struggles to fit into blended family.

Age(i)

2
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5
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17

Quality(i)

 

What parents need to know

Positive messages

Shows a loving, multicultural blended family trying to adjust to a big change.

Violence & scariness
Not applicable
Language
Not applicable

Parents Need to Know

Parents need to know that this beautifully done book of poetry addresses with sensitivity an issue that pulls at the hearts of all blended families: how does each member readjust, fit in, and find a place in the new whole. As an Amistad book, this is a book written by a person of African descent on a theme that "has significance to the larger world audience."

Parents say

Kids say

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What's the story?

As he realizes he is going to have to not only share his home, but his mother as well, Xavier is so upset that he nearly drops out of his family altogether. He goes so far as to take a totally different route to school just so he won't have to share the experience with Chris, his new stepbrother. When he witnesses Chris playing ball with his mom ... well, that takes the cake!

Is it any good?

QUALITY
 

This is not just an African-American, nor Hispanic-American experience; it is one that will strike a chord with every reader, of any age. The story is heartfelt and real, the poetry emotionally true, and the artwork expressive. In his gouche paintings that accompany each of the poems, award-winning illustrator Mike Benny captures the sincerity and complexity of each boy's feelings, and makes the reader feel just what the poetry so beautifully expresses in words.

Families can talk about...

  • Families can talk about Xavier's feelings as expressed in each of the 20 poems. How does he feel toward his new stepfather? Toward Chris? Toward his mother? What is he afraid of? How did Xavier resolve the problem? If readers are from a blended family, this will be a perfect opportunity for them to talk about their own difficulties, and how they have had to change, adapt, accept, and basically fit in to the new organization. Did they feel like Xavier? Or, maybe they were more like Chris? How have things worked out?

Book details

Author:Nikki Grimes
Illustrator:Mike Benny
Genre:Family Life
Book type:Fiction
Publisher:HarperCollins Children's Books
Publication date:December 26, 2007
Number of pages:32
Publisher's recommended age(s):5 - 7
Read aloud:5
Read alone:8

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  • ON: Content is age-appropriate for kids this age.
  • PAUSE: Know your child; some content may not be right for some kids.
  • OFF: Not age-appropriate for kids this age.
  • NOT FOR KIDS: Not appropriate for kids of any age.

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  • Best: Really engaging; great learning approach.
  • Very Good: Engaging; good learning approach.
  • Good: Pretty engaging; good learning approach.
  • Fair: Somewhat engaging; OK learning approach.
  • Not for Learning: Not recommended for learning.
  • Not for Kids: Not age-appropriate for kids; not recommended for learning.

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Parent of a 7 year old Written bycharleshou August 29, 2009

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