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From the Tuff Books series

by Burny Bos & illustrated by Hans de Beer

Age Range: 3 - 6

Pub Date: April 1st, 2012
ISBN: 978-0-7358-4075-1
Publisher: NorthSouth

Ollie, pining for a baby brother, goes on a walkabout to find one or become someone else’s.

Ollie had high hopes of getting a baby brother for his birthday, but when that doesn’t pan out—“You don’t get little children for your birthday,” his mother rather unsympathetically tells him—he straps on his roller skates and heads out the door to see what he might find. When no baby elephants materialize, Ollie asks a number of other creatures if he can join their clans—a stag, a frog, a bat—but since he isn’t one of them (he hasn’t got the stag’s horns, for instance, though he does tie a chair on his head in a heartbreaking attempt), nothing really works out. He gets lost, he breaks his leg, and he gets found. His mother tells him, “your father and I plan to have more children,” still rather unsympathetically, like she’s going to get an oil change or something. Bos’ narrative is verbose, practically swamping de Beer’s delicate but comic pen-and-ink illustrations, and remarkably unmusical (though perhaps that's the translation). Its punchy directness has an undeniable clarity and a measure of drama. But really, Ollie’s gone for four days and all Mother can say is “we’ve been so worried about you”?

Of course Ollie wants a brother…for a little familial warmth and dependability. (Picture book. 3-6)