A playfully oblique exposition of the perils and pitfalls of sibling rivalry.
A mouse, very like a 3- or 4-year-old child, is instructed by Mommy to keep quiet and not disturb baby brother mouse as he naps in his stroller. The narrator’s passive-aggressive solution to this situation is to engage in “quiet” activities that “accidentally” involve disturbing his little sibling’s rest. Mommy’s injunction, repeated frequently—“Shh! Your brother’s napping”—accompanies all the ways the older sib disrupts the baby. These include putting pan lids on his head, preparing to hit them drum-style with kitchen utensils; a well-aimed book, thrown because, he says, “there’s a scary part that makes me run.” Even the temptation to paint brother’s sleeping face is too great. So he goes for building with blocks, which is a fine quiet activity until—“Ooops!” everything tumbles down. Baby brother is now wide-awake. Thoroughly exhausted from the effort of disturbing the baby’s nap, older brother yawns and falls asleep, provoking the inevitable punch line from baby: “Shh! My brother’s napping.” Ohi’s playful, cartoonish watercolor illustrations in pastel colors beautifully illustrate the humorous, understated text while making the joke completely apparent.
Families with different-aged siblings will find much to relate to and discuss in this light but observant rendering of an age-old power struggle. (Picture book. 2-4)