Saturday, January 21, 2012

Literary License: Once Upon A Baby Brother by Sara Sullivan

Lizzie loved to tell stories.

Tall ones. True ones.

Funny ones. Sad ones.

Lizzie loved them all.

Only child Lizzie is a born storyteller and the apple of her parents' eye--until she turns seven and Marvin comes along. Suddenly Mom and Dad are absorbed in their new little baby boy and there's not much time to listen to Lizzie's newest literary work. And as Marvin gets old enough to get into Lizzie's stuff, he's just a pest. Who needs a toy bear decorated with glitter glue? Who needs Marvin?

The one bright spot for our frustrated young author is Ms. Pennyroyal, her second-grade teacher, who just adores Lizzie's tales of daring heroines. Suddenly, Lizzie scores a twofer--she gets even with messy Marvin, making him the villain of her classroom writings--Marvinosaurus, Marvin the Ugly Prince, Marvin the Pesky Pirate--while she wins the praise of her pretty teacher and the giggles of her classmates.

And then Mom takes Marvin to visit Grandma. At first Lizzie enjoys having Dad as her full-time audience again. But then Ms. P. gives her class a novel writing assignment--a graphic comic novel--and suddenly Lizzie realizes that she's got an unfamiliar case of writer's block. She's fresh out of material and inspiration. Yikes!

But it's messy Marvin to the rescue. Mom returns with Lizzie's pesky protagonist who brings a fresh repertoire of annoying activities polished at Grandma's. Amazing Marvin and His Wonderdog George rides again, and Lizzie's back in the literature business!

Sara Sullivan and the award-winning artist Tricia Tusa team up in Once Upon a Baby Brother (Farrar, Straus, and Giroux) in this story of siblingitis with its due of happy endings. Tusa's comic watercolor sketches add a lot to this story, and The Amazing Marvin has lots of literary promise for future sequels.



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