by Vicki Thornton
My Brother is a beautiful story in so many ways. The text is simple. A creature is searching for his lost brother: he searches the places he used to go, the lovely places and the scary places. He searches and searches but can’t find him. Only when exhaustion overtakes him and he sleeps does he wake to find his brother is not lost, but with him everywhere.
The illustrations are what make this story so ethereal and surreal. They are black and white as the creature hunts, and when he realises that his brother is always with him does colour become a major impact.
There is so much detail in these illustrations, from the beginning, where two coats and hats and sets of gumboots silently wait, to the discovery of nursery rhyme characters in later pages. The cow jumping over the moon, the mouse running up the clock, the owl and the pussycat in their boat (one assumes pea green). A gentle touch with both text and illustration leads the reader on a journey of loss from a sibling’s perspective.
This warm and gentle book looks at grief and loss. Although aimed at children of middle primary school age who have lost a sibling, I think this book would be suitable for younger primary age children as well, especially as it gives the option for parents for further discussions. Highly recommended.
Note that Dee Huxley has worked as a freelance illustrator, graphic designer and author and has illustrated many picture books for children. She has been shortlisted twice for the Children’s Book Council Picture Book of the Year Award.