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Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Brothers, written by Michael Mazo and illustrated by Michael Soloviov. Tundra, 2009. $18.99 ages 6 and up

"I am Julius the Elder. Top Dog the First. I must
work tirelessly to maintain my status, now that
William the Upstart is here. William is my little
brother. He has much to learn.
So has the sitter."

Brothers are a special this case, they are bull terriers. They got their own story when Michael Mazo took care of his mother's two 'bullies' while she was away from home. Michael was intrigued to watch them interact and thought they saw themselves as human characters in a daily drama to prove superiority. Following that tenure as dog watcher, he wrote this wonderfully funny and most appealing readaloud.

When mother leaves, the 'boys' are distraught and promise to be 'good lambies'. That lasts no time at all. Julius is quick to stake a claim on being the one to teach William and the sitter their place. William, the Younger is a yoga devotee and is looking for inner peace. Julius the Elder finds great hilarity in the fact that William has much to learn about the real world...including the time each day when William, in his naivete, tries to run out through the glass patio doors. William sees the toilet bowl as the Fountain of Youth. Julius assures that if that were so, he would certainly not look the way he does. Julius dines, William inhales.

You get the picture...what a corker this book is, and what fun the two Michaels must have had creating this wonderful story! I will read it again and again with as many kids as I can, and watch for more by this zany team.

In an interview Michael Mazo lets us in on his wacky sense of humor with this advice to those wanting to get a book published:

"•Sleep outside the publisher’s house.
•Find out what the publisher’s favorite perfume/cologne/food/flower is and buy it in bulk.
•Praise the publisher’s lineage and ancestry.
•Memorize the publisher’s schedule and “accidentally” be jogging at the same time they are, only without an iPod, reading your book.
•Deflate the publisher’s tire and offer to change it when they emerge from the building, stunned.
•If both you and the publisher are single, propose."

Need I say more?

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