Here’s a nice review of The Big Brother that I found online just now. I hadn’t seen it before!
Part of the Panda Series for beginner readers, “The Big Brother” addresses the difficulties posed when a new baby arrives into the family. But interestingly Stephanie Dagg has focused on young Dara’s worries that he won’t know how to be a big brother, and the book recounts his efforts to learn before the baby is born. With amusing illustrations by Alan Clark and a puzzle to solve, this is a book which will be both helpful and entertaining for young children.
Review from The Irish Emigrant
Dara – who in my first version was called Darren, but this was another name issue as with my Katie books! – is going to be a big brother soon so he wants to practise. He needs a doll to practise on – changing nappies, rocking to sleep, and so on. But no-one will give him a doll because he’s a boy. He’s given a dinosaur and a Super Spaceman toy instead, but they’re no good. Finally, he swaps Super Spaceman with his cousin Penny for her Bouncy Baby doll. He’s delighted. Mum finds the dolly tucked up warmly in Dara’s bed and understands what’s been going on. She has a word with Dad and Grandad, and they buy Dara accessories and reconvert the go-kart back into the doll’s pram it once was! And Dara is a good big brother when the time comes.
Quirky artwork in this story. I wasn’t at all keen to start with, again. Dad looked old enough to be my Dad! And, horror of horrors, in one of the original drawings he was smoking a pipe. That was definitely too much. No tobacco promotion in my kids books, and certainly no smoking around a pregnant woman! The pipe was removed. But the pictures have grown on me. I think Grandad is awesome!
I wrote this story when I was expecting Ruadhri, so it was partly for Caiti. Also, when she’d been born, a friend gave Benjamin a dolly so he could pretend it was his baby. Other friends were disapproving, which stuck with me. There are so many silly stereotypes out there. This book brings a few to light.