Amp! brings another webcomic from the popular online site GoComics.com to print in this new collection.
As you might guess from the title, Oh, Brother! plays on tried and true cliches of sibling rivalry. Sensible Lily, the older sister, has a mature outlook on life and tries to get her brother to follow in her footsteps. Bud, however, is a typical little brother and he’s got his own ideas about “fun.” While each short comic is contained in a page, they are organized roughly, with stories set in different seasons and holidays together, although school and summer are intermixed. The humor varies widely from classic scenes with Lily’s journal to jokes that will make adults and kids alike snicker along, like Bud waiting in line for a cool ride at the fair that turns out to be the women’s bathroom line.
Despite Lily and Bud’s occasional clashes, the majority of the stories are funny in a sweet way with Lily as a mostly caring, if exasperated, older sister and Bud as a mischievous but good-hearted little brother. In one scene, Lily reflects sadly on the all the problems in the world—and Bud presents her with his problem; he only got one slice of cake! In the final panel, as Bud munches happily on another piece of cake, Lily remarks, “Well, we solved ONE of the world’s problems!”
There are no parents present and Lily often seems to take on the role as she’s constantly accompanied by Bud, feeds him, reminds him to do his homework, etc. However, this seems to be more played for laughs than an actual family situation.
The art style is classic newspaper cartoons, similar to Family Circus. Lily and Bud wear the same clothes: a black dress with a white collar and a red headband for Lily, and a green shirt or jacket and black pants for Bud. Their expressions are quintessential cartoon humor with dramatically tilted eyebrows, large, roughly expressive eyes, and exaggerated reactions. The backgrounds are drawn in basic blocks of color with simple, minimal details. Continuing the newspaper comic strip feel, there are “spot the difference” puzzles in the back of the book.
AMP! has very sturdy paperbacks that will hold up to quite a lot of use if you aren’t able to acquire the hardcover or prebound edition. While this isn’t a necessary purchase, if you’re looking for some new cartoon books it’s a good title and can be enjoyed by a wide range of kids and teens. Aside from a few fart jokes, there’s very little “gross” humor and most of the jokes are situational or play off the siblings’ relationship without being mean. A fun addition to any cartoon collection for elementary and middle grade readers.
Oh, Brother!: Brat Attack!
by Bob Weber Jr., Jay Stephens
Publisher Age Rating: 7-12