Written and Illustrated by Matthew Cordell
Feiwel and Friends, 2012
For four glorious years, Davy had Mom and Dad all to himself.
The plot in a nutshell: Davy is dismayed when he gets twelve new brothers who copy his every movement.
Davy enjoys being an only child and getting all the attention from his parents, but things change when his little brother, Petey, comes along. Then, to make things worse, Petey is immediately followed by Mike, Stu, Mickey, Carl, Pip, Ralph, Tate, Lenny, Gil, Ned and Bob. Every time Davy does anything, his twelve brothers do it as well. His parents assure him that his brothers are emulating him because they look up to him and that it’s a phase that will pass when they get old enough to develop their own interests. After many days of being copied, one day Davy discovers that his brothers are doing their own things. And, of course, he gets a little lonely for their company. Then he wakes up one morning to find someone copying him again. Another new brother? Nope, it’s a new little sister named Gertie.
I wish this book had been around when we were expecting our second child, especially when we found out that the second child would be our second AND third! We read lots of books about dealing with a new baby in the house, but I don’t remember any of them being this funny. Author/illustrator Matthew Cordell is a fellow Southerner, hailing from my next-door-neighbor state of South Carolina. He brings the perfect comical tone to this story, delivering a nice lesson about siblings and developing your own identity in a big family all wrapped up in a humorous package. My husband laughed out loud several times when I was reading him this book.
Mr. Cordell’s illustrations are done in pen and ink and watercolor, and they turn up the comic factor. The sheep are drawn as fluffy little bundles of wool, wearing different clothing items and/or accessories, but it’s really their facial expressions that add so much fun to the story. As the brothers copy what Davy is doing, it’s worth it to take the time to look at each brother, to see the ways that they are already expressing a little bit of individuality while still following their older brother’s example. One example of Davy’s that I really want to follow is to exclaim, ‘honkin’ plunger!’ next time I have an issue with a toilet plunger, because that’s just really fun to say.
And what did we learn? What I take away from this book is that siblings can be challenging sometimes, but they are still very nice things to have.