‘The Brothers Quibble’: 2015 ALIA National Simultaneous Storytime
Author/illustrator Aaron Blabey continues to produce one brilliant book after another and ‘The Brothers Quibble’ is pure literary gold, so I was delighted to see it chosen as the 2015 National Simultaneous Storytime book.
To add these books to your home or school library click on title links or cover images.
Spalding Quibble ruled the roost.
He shared it with no other.
But then his parents introduced
a brand new baby brother.
A picture book about love (and war) from the award-winning author of Pearl Barley and Charlie Parsley, The Dreadful Fluff and Noah Dreary.
Blabely has produced a book that many children will relate to and all children will get a laugh out of. Laughter is one of the main aims of National Simultaneous Storytime: National Simultaneous Storytime is an annual campaign that aims to encourage more young Australians to read and enjoy books. Now in its 15th successful year it is a colourful, vibrant, fun event that aims to promote the value of reading and literacy using an Australian children’s book that explores age appropriate themes, and addresses key learning areas of the National Curriculum for Grades F to 6 and the pre-school Early Learning Years Framework (see more at ALIA).
I’ve been reading all the outrage and controversy about this year’s choice of book for NSS and have had a number of emails asking my opinion about the suitability of ‘The Brothers Quibble’ for use in primary schools. I wasn’t going to respond online, until tonight, when I once again found my three and seven year old girls acting out the story of Spalding and Bunny with their Shopkins (Dear Lord, give me strength to survive Shopkins) and suddenly I felt compelled to share my thoughts on this little piece of literary brilliance. I also happen to be trying to avoid the dishes, and lunch making for tomorrow.
I do understand that not all teachers, parents, librarians feel comfortable sharing a book where an older brother is so downright dreadful about his new baby brother. There is also some pretty strong language, many pictures with WILD eyes, and two parents who look like they need a really good sleep, a razor and a hairbrush. I don’t know what your reality was, but that description pretty much sums up what my house looked like when ChickPea came home: chaos; wild eyes; unwashed hair; and tears from baby, older sister, the dog and myself. It’s a hard time, but that time passes and (mostly) siblings end up forming a deep and lasting bond. The tumble from ‘king of the castle’ as a firstborn child can be rough, but ultimately, younger siblings can be ace. To me that seems that message of ‘The Brothers Quibble’.
Children are far more astute as readers/viewers of books than we give them credit for. Even at three, ChickPea understands that Spaldings antics are super naughty, and she’s hardly going to try and recreate them in real life as she has her own repertoire of antics which would give Spalding a run for his money. Her party themes to date say it all really: Cranky Ladybird first; Wild Thing second and dinosaur third.
I firmly believe that 99% of children know that books by Andy Griffiths, David Walliams and Roald Dahl (the first master of subversive children’s literature) are often exaggerated, OTT and just pure fun. Children’s literature need not, indeed should not, be saccharine sweet. Children’s literature should challenge, extend, amuse and delight our young people. Far from being an ‘easy option’, humorous literature encourages critical reading as young people learn to read between the lines and develop an awareness of subtly and sarcasm, right and wrong. You can read more about my thoughts on humour in children’s literature here.
Anyway, if you, your library or your school has decided that ‘The Brothers Quibble’ is just not for you – no worries! There are plenty of other Aaron Blabley options (below), or use one of the books from the previous 14 years worth of NSS titles, which can be found on the ALIA site.
If you are using ‘The Brothers Quibble’, yay! There are awesome teachers’ notes by Jackie Small (of My Little Bookcase) here, activity ideas from ALIA here, and Susan Stephenson is uploading ideas from the 20th May on The Book Chook.
Aaron Blabley TitlesBooktopia. You can also compare prices on Fishpond and Bookworld for Australian purchases.If you live in the US or would prefer to use Amazon click here. If you live in the UK or would prefer to use Book Depository click here. Purchases clicked through from the Children’s Books Daily site result in a small commission. Commission is used in part to maintain Children’s Books Daily and to support community groups which connect children with books.