The Brothers Quibble by Aaron Blabey
Penguin Books Aus RRP: AUD $24.99
– Award winning Australian author and illustrator
– Humorous look at sibling rivalry
– Very quirky illustration style
For more information visit Penguin Books Australia
It’s been awhile since I’ve come across a character name as cool as Spalding Quibble. This alone will ensure young readers sit up and take notice of this quirky picture book that looks at what happens in a family after the arrival of a dreaded little brother! Spalding Quibble rules the roost, you see. He has his parents’ undivided attention until baby Bunny spoils everything and all hell breaks loose. Spalding wages war against his family – he hits them, he hoses them, he sprays them with paint – yelling ‘Curse you, Devil!’ as he goes. Spalding is an extreme representation of a tantruming toddler and the cartoon-like illustrations border on frightening as his wild eyed rage is played out. He dons a handmade paper crown to emphasise his authority as he bangs and slams his way through the house. On my first read through I wondered if this was all a little too much for young readers, but then my children reminded me that that tortuous level of fear, confusion and frustration is exactly what it feels like to be a toddler – especially when your world changes overnight.
Luckily for Bunny, his persistent adoration of his big brother eventually pays off and Stirling begins to tolerate, and sometimes even like, having him around. Unlike a lot of similar books, which end with cuddles and smiles, this one ends on a realistic note with the brothers up to cheeky mischief one minute and tearing each other’s hair out the next. The final illustration shows Spalding handing the paper crown to young Bunny as they walk towards their future. So far, so sweetly symbolic – but their body language also suggests a headlock might be only minutes away! Sounds like a few siblings I know!