Review Blog

Mar 01 2017

My brother is a beast by Damon Young

cover image

Ill. by Peter Carnavas. UQP, 2017. ISBN 9780702259579
(age: 4+) Highly recommended. Siblings, Family, Rhyming story, Read aloud. From the creators of My sister is a superhero, comes an equally funny sequel, where her brother is a beast. In a series of eight line stanzas, the first three double lines tell of what other brothers do:
Some brothers scrub with sponges
to clean glue from dirty doors',

each set of six lines ending with the refrain,
'But my brother is a beast . . . '
The repetition is infectious and the repeated last two lines will have kids in gales of laughter, working out what the rhyme will be, following the antics of the beastie brother.
Each page is filled with colour and laughter, movement and music as the brothers show their skills at playing drums, or the bassoon, or harp, or clean the stables, or make a table, or row a canoe. But towards the end of the story, the children are tiring out as the brothers sleep in a hammock, or laze in an armchair, while the beast of a brother makes a cave of sheets for his sister to sleep in.
Carnavas' watercolour and ink illustrations suit the mood of the story beautifully as he repeats the round eyed children motif, and children will watch out for the array of animals he includes on each page. Children will love to read this book aloud, reading along with the older reader, predicting rhymes for themselves. The book lends itself to making up lines using the model given in the book, and drawing the children in different situations, using Carnavas' drawings as a template. I can imagine lots of brainstorming of lines, 'Some brothers . . . ' and 'But my brother . . . ', encouraging younger readers to learn about rhyme, rhythm and metre at an early age.
Fran Knight

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