Author/ Illustrator: Patricia Polacco
Publisher: Simon & Schuster Children’s Publishing, September 1994
Picture Book: 32 pages
Age: 8 and up
Themes: Brothers and sisters, sibling rivalry, family, sibling love, taking care of each other
My Rotten Redheaded Older Brother is about Patricia Polacco and her older brother Rich, specifically about one summer in their childhood. They have typical sibling rivalry, always trying to outdo each other. Rich always wins, because he is older, which he likes to remind her of. Their grandmother is also a key character, mediating their disputes and reminding me of all the times my brother and I spent with our grandmother during the summers. They go to the fair and Rich surprises Patricia. I won’t say more, because I don’t want to give everything away! I found this book to be fun, sweet, touching and silly all at once. It rang very true for me, even though my brother is the younger sibling. I also really liked that actual photographs of Patricia and Rich as children are included inside the front and back cover pages. This book would be perfect for Writer’s Workshop mini-lessons, especially on memoirs and autobiographies, showing an alternative to the “birth to death” model often found.