Cover image for Oh, Brother!
Oh, Brother!
Stark, Ken.
Personal Author:
Publication Information:
New York : G.P. Putnam's, [2003]

Physical Description:
1 volume (unpaged) : color illustrations ; 26 cm
In 1952, two brothers, aged nine and ten, enjoy a year filled with fun and adventure in the farmlands of northeastern Illinois.
Program Information:
Accelerated Reader AR LG 3.3 0.5 68927.
Format :


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Item Holds
PIC BK Juvenile Fiction Picture Books

On Order



1952 was filled with adventure for Ken Stark and his brother Phil. They didn't go far from their small home in rural Illinois, but their active imaginations made jumping off the chicken house roof, playing on a huge corncob pile, and building a ramshackle airplane take them to all kinds of exciting places. It wasn't all fun and games-Ken almost lost a finger in the old wringer washer and both boys nearly sweated to death from pushing the rattley wheel mower over the entire yard. Life was simple, but enchanted. Captivating paintings, in the spirit of Norman Rockwell, and a charming narrative will transport readers to the era of their grandparents' youth.

Reviews 2

Booklist Review

Gr. 1^-3. The jacket illustration makes this look like a fantasy about two boys flying in a homemade wooden airplane; the first few pages of text make this appear to be a story about the author-artist's childhood. But readers looking for fantasy or a continuous narrative will find instead a series of paintings and reminiscences that show and tell what it was like for a nine-year-old growing up outside Kankakee, Illinois, in 1952. Once readers stop looking for a linear text, they will enjoy the offering. Each double-page spread features a painting showing Stark and his brother in action: leaping off the chicken house with a towel for a cape, cutting the grass to save their mother some money, or sitting indoors in winter, wearing sweaters, coats, and hats as they listen to the radio. Though the book is autobiographical, the cataloging classifies the book as fiction, perhaps because of the flight-of-fancy painting facing the text in which Stark remembers the brothers' plane. No engine, "but we flew to Timbuktu anyway." A warm, never-sappy reminiscence. --Carolyn Phelan

School Library Journal Review

Gr 1-5-A fictionalized account of the author's childhood in the 1950s in rural northeastern Illinois with his older brother, Phil, and his mother. Stark remembers the excitement of moving to the country even though it meant that there was no bathroom in the house. The family couldn't afford a phone, car, or television but they had their imaginations and the freedom to explore. The brothers and their best friend, Tootie Splear, jumped off the chicken-house roof and "flew off like Superman," played King of the Mountain on a corncob pile, and had snowball fights. A used bike from a neighbor gave Ken and Phil the means to go almost anywhere. The book is laid out on double-page spreads with a beautiful painting complemented by text describing the event. The art is done in muted tones that recall a time past, and it shows, even more than the first-person narrative, the details of life during this era. Children will see a lawn mower powered only by human toil and an ice-cream truck driven by a man on a bike. This is an excellent book for adults to share with youngsters and may lead into a discussion of what things were like when they were growing up.-Sheilah Kosco, Rapides Parish Library, Alexandria, LA (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.