From School Library Journal
Kindergarten-Grade 3—This clever cautionary tale is nothing short of spectacular. Oliver Keaton is sure he is about to get a baby brother. Much to his chagrin, baby Julie arrives, on Groundhog's Day—a good metaphor that sets the tone for the story. He attempts to trade his well-behaved baby sister for a brother. He discovers that his friends' baby brothers cry all day long, or are up all night, and scraps that option, but Oliver continues his quest to find the perfect one. In one funny scene, he notices a sign at the zoo that says, "Change Babies Here," and figures this would be the perfect place to exchange his sibling; crying babies go in, and happy babies come out. He goes inside, and the odor has him running for cover. Observant Oliver becomes quite insightful and discriminating as he compares and contrasts Julie's positive qualities to those of other babies, and a strong, protective bond develops. Then Mom and Dad announce that they are expecting again and Oliver imagines the fun "guy" activities he will someday share with his new unborn brother. How will he feel if it's another sister? The watercolor illustrations include cartoon characters with a lot of expression and an adorable Julie always dressed in pink. Some pages use ellipses, which will keep readers guessing and turning pages to get to the next plot point. The ending of this tale is heartwarming and satisfying. This wise and humorous selection is a winner for storytime or sharing one-on-one.—Anne Beier, Hendrick Hudson Free Library, Montrose, NY
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All-boy Oliver Keaton, baseball mitt in hand, is sure that he is getting the baby brother he has always wanted. Of course, he doesn't. When his parents proudly show him his baby sister, bedecked in pink blankets, he is miserable. He offers to trade with friends who have baby brothers, and he completely misunderstands the sign in the zoo that reads, “Change babies here,” expecting he can go in with a girl and leave with a boy (the diapered and bare-bottomed babies are sure to elicit guffaws). He checks in the classified ads “just in case someone was selling a used baby boy.” Both text and breezy cartoon illustrations are laced with humor, making this an excellent choice for reading aloud. Capturing Oliver's inner dialogue and the conflicting thoughts children have as they adjust to a new sibling and offering a twist ending, Feiffer's book is a cut above many of its kind. Although it's doubtful any new-sibling book will quite measure up to Kevin Henkes' Julius, the Baby of the World (1990), this one comes close. Grades K-3. --Patricia Austin