In epistolary mode
It’s a little gem, which appeared several years ago, but whose shape is original enough to make it an indestructible classic for children’s libraries. An unborn baby writes to his big brother, from their mother’s womb. An epistolary relationship made of tenderness, jealousy, expectation and hope begins between this youngest who has no name and his eldest, Thomas. The letters are punctuated by superb illustrations. “I’m almost 3 years old and I know how to do things you don’t even know about, writes Thomas. While mum gives you the breast, I will eat at the table with dad, pieces of meat that you have to chew with your teeth. » In the letters of the eldest, this unknown little brother is in turn “Mister who thinks he is the center of the universe”, “Little naked man”, “My little brother of nothing at all”. He will become, at the very end, Antoine.
“Letters to my dear brother who is not yet born”, by Frédéric Kessler and Alain Pilon (Grasset, 2015, 32 p., €13.90). From 3 years old.
At the school of patience
A boy sits at the foot of a sleeping baby’s crib. He gets bored. “Little brother, you just sleep and drink milk. Mom says I have to wait until you grow up. » Here he begins to imagine their future adventures, in lush landscapes; castles on shores, nights under the stars, the discovery of new lands. To all children disappointed to meet, instead of a new play partner, a maggot that only regurgitates, this book will remind you of the virtues of patience, and that bonds are built at least as much in desires as we only project into reality.
“Little Brother”, by Sofie Laguna and Judy Watson, translated from English by Ilona Meyer and Caroline Drouault (Les Editions des Elephants, 40 p., €15.50). From 4 years old.
The excitement of returning from motherhood
This album is aimed at future elders a little older than the previous ones. Leonor is 5 and a half years old, will soon lose a tooth, and is waiting for her little brother, Max, to come home from the maternity ward. All the ambivalence of this suspended moment shines through in the soft and minimalist drawings of Martina Aranda, the author-illustrator of this series. This is the first appearance of Leonor, who will then be found in The day I went to high schoolpublished a year later (2021), then in The Day I Met Julietta (2023). A thoughtful little girl who takes us into her thoughts. She prepares a snack for Max, a fruit juice and a shortbread in modeling clay. When he arrives, she watches him sleep. He smells of toilet milk. The snack will be for later: she falls asleep with “the longest hug in the world” of his mother. A poetic book that imposes nothing on its readers.
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