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Oh, Brother!
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Oh, Brother!
illustrated by Mike Benny
Amistad, 2007
ISBN: 978-0688172947

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About the book

It's bad enough that Xavier's new stepbrother, Chris, has moved into Xavier's room, but now it looks like he's also trying to steal Mami by being the perfect kid.

Chris' "Mr. Perfect" act may fool grown-ups, but Xavier can see straight through it. He promises himself that he'll never become real brothers with such a fake.

No brothers allowed! Ever!

... right?

In twenty powerful poems, two strangers learn to become brothers. Nikki Grimes captures the struggles—and eventual sweetness—of bringing together a family.


"When his mother remarries, a young boy resents his new stepbrother until he discovers they have a lot in common....Twenty poems laced with emotion chronicle Xavier's journey from anger to acceptance, while [Mike] Benny's strong goauche illustrations capture his emotional struggle to embrace his new hermano and their new family. Ideal for kids coping with new step-siblings." —Kirkus Reviews

"Snappy laguage and varied rhyme schemes energize Grimes's (Talkin' About Bessie) verses describing step-sibling rivalry in a newly blended, interracial family. Xavier bemoans his circumstances: 'Everyone in this house/is a step, now/ Stepmom/Stepdad.../In my mind,/I turn them into steps/I can climb./ And when I reach/the top,/I rule."...Throughout, the illustrator favors outsize characters with enormous eyes and mouths, exaggerating Xavier's shifting emotions (and taking advantage of the book's large trim size). The stylized characters also complement the humor and the deft poetic shifts as Grimes traces Xavier's tumultuous route to friendship with his new stepbrother, Chris...the art and poems capture and memorably convey a range of emotions." —Publishers Weekly

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