“Irony delights from hoof to antler in this absurdly comical tale of a baby moose brother. ”
When a new baby brother joins her family, a young girl is elated to discover he is a moose. In fact, she feels “sad for the other babies” at the hospital—yes, her moose brother was born in a hospital—because they “all looked the same,” while her brother has “velvety soft skin” and an enormous nose that Grandma says looks just like her great-aunt Lydia’s (and a family portrait of Lydia hanging above the fireplace confirms the same). Though her family is accomodating in every way—altering clothes and customizing the car to fit the moose’s long neck—the girl can still tell her baby brother feels sad, so the family packs up his things and takes him to the mountains, where, based on the postcard he sends a month later, he is “having a wonderful time.” Rosoff fills this off-the-wall story from cover to cover with deadpan irony, not least of which is the comical absurdity of a newborn moose, which though unexpected by the whole family, is taken in stride and goes unaddressed. Ercolini sells it all splendidly with incredibly complex and detailed illustrations, belied at first glance by his simple character design and soft tempera paints. As readers look closely, they’ll discover inventive original viewpoints—like the high angle view of the family in the kitchen that accentuates “baby” moose’s size—and clever details to study and enjoy on each page—like birthday party antler hats and plants stockpiled in the kitchen to feed the baby.
Meg Rosoff is the author of numerous novels for adults, young adults, and children, including How I Live Now and Jonathan Unleashed, and the coauthor of Beck. She is the winner of the 2016 Astrid Lindgren Memorial Award, the Guardian Children’s Fiction Prize, the Michael L. Printz Award, and the Carnegie Medal. Meg Rosoff lives in London.
David Ercolini studied painting at Pratt Institute and later received an MFA in illustration from the School of Visual Arts. He is the illustrator of the picture books The Night Before Christmas and Not Inside This House!, which was named an Ezra Jack Keats Honor Book for Illustration. He lives and works in New York City. Visit him online at davidercolini.com.
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