Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Julius, The Baby of the World by Kevin Henkes

Lily's Purple Plastic Purse by Kevin Henkes is one of my favorite picture books. Therefore, I was really excited to find another book by this author to read entitled Julius, The Baby of the World. My high expectations were met if not exceeded.
Lily, Julius's older sister, is struggling with welcoming her baby brother into her life. I think this is something many kids face when they become older siblings. There may be less attention given to them and more time spent with the new sibling. This translates into one major thing...jealousy. Lily is very jealous of her little brother, and she is not shy about letting others know how she feels. She wants to send him back, but her parents say that he will be staying permanently. Lily earns herself many trips to the "uncooperative chair" because of her antics towards her little brother. Just when I was thinking that there was no way this little girl was going to have a change of heart and learn to love her brother, I was pleasantly surprised. It took another person saying the same mean things Lily said about Julius to her. She set that person straight, and from that day forward, her feelings and actions towards Julius changed drastically. I thought this was very interesting, and it made me do some thinking. I think it is very common for siblings to say negative things about each other, but if someone else says negative things about their sibling, watch out. The fact that the author noticed this and incorporated this family dynamic into the book was something I really liked. In fact, it was used as the turning point in the story that led to a better relationship between Lily and Julius.
The illustrations in this book were very nice. They were descriptive. One thing I really liked was that the characters often had dialogue within the picture. This makes readers focus more on the illustrations, and I think that was a clever way to play up the pictures.
Although I said it before, I will say it again. I really liked this book. Because this author seems to be one that I really enjoy, I think I am going to look into more books written by him. I have already read Chrysanthemum, and that was also a book I really liked. If anyone has not read any books by Kevin Henkes, I strongly recommend it.

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