Cover Image: Brian the Brave

Brian the Brave

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Member Reviews

This is a story that encourages children to look beyond physical differences and to band together. It uses sheep who start out trying to be friends, but as their friend group expands, one friend discriminates against another one simply because of how one looks. For example, one with black wool refuses to play with one with white wool. 

There's almost a round robin of sheep going up against each other, so that more than one of them can feel what it's like to be left out. But then they learn how to band together when danger strikes and realize that they work better as a group. 

Some children may pick up on what is happening just by reading it, but I would suggest using this as a launchpad for discussion about being friends in spite of surface differences. Inside, we are all the same. 

The illustrations are a little reminiscent of Eric Carle's style as they are done in a multimedia way of collage and paint. It's a cute book.

Thank you to the publisher and to NetGalley for fulfilling my request for a review copy. All thoughts and opinions are my own.
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I requested and received an e-ARC from NetGalley and Flyaway Books in exchange for an honest review.

This book was cute.  The illustrations were colourful and fun and the message was great.  This book will teach kids not to judge others by their colour, shapes, or sizes; and about getting to know one another first.

#BrianTheBrave #NetGalley
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The story of Brian is one that children of all ages can relate to. We are different but the same in many ways. They will learn acceptance, tolerance, love, and how we can share the same space even if we aren't all the same. There's a deeper meaning here with using sheep (follow the herd, be the same) that older children might read into.
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The illustrations really brought this book to life! They look like adorable little canvas paintings and have vibrant colors. The storyline was a little confusing just because everyone was excluding different people for different reasons, but it definitely helped with the point of the book: everyone is different in their own way and we should be friends with everyone.
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The story has a good message (differences are OK).  After reading the story, caregivers will need to find relatable examples for horns and wool color. At times the text seemed awkward, but the entrance of the wolf was a good twist.  I think the pictures are kid-friendly and vibrant. 

Story 3
Illustrations 4
Appeal to Audience 3.5

Thank you to the publisher and Netgalley for the e-galley. I voluntarily read and reviewed an e-galley of this book. All thoughts and opinions are my own.
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This was a quick book about inclusivity and working with others. Though it teaches an important lesson, the story is a little rushed and disjointed. I think there are other books that teach the same lesson, but do so more clearly.
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This is a story about friendship, racism, being proud of your differences and celebrating your similarities. Brian is just a regular sheep who does regular sheep things. He meets many new sheep, who look different from Brian. Some are a different colour, some have curly horns, and some do different things. They don't want to associate with Brian because he does not look like them or he is different in some way. Soon, Brian finds himself sad and alone, as he is abandoned by his friends. But when a wolf comes along, Brian warns the other sheep and they band together to save themselves from the wolf. Brian is brave and risks himself to save the other sheep. They realize that it doesn't matter what their differences are, they need to band together and be friends in order to survive.

Paul Stewart has written a story that is very timely and relevant. With all the racism, especially with all the immigration happening, this is a very important issue. Jane Porter’s illustrations bring the sheep to life in a colorful and attractive way. Their book teaches that coming together because of their similarities is better than being apart due to their differences. My granddaughter thought this was cute story and that the sheep were mean. The underlying message was there, but she is pretty accepting. Children aren't born racist, racial prejudice is something we learn. Maybe adults reading this will understand and undertake the message.
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Be brave like Brian! Of all the sheep Brian has the clearest head in a time of trouble. Brian knows what is most important. Brian wants to include everyone. Brian believes everyone is important. No matter how different. A story of friendship and acceptance.
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It was cute.  As a storyteller, was looking for something different.  I will recommend for check out.  But looking for titles for Storytime and this was just a little too long for toddlers.
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This was such a cute book! I loved the illustrations and the fun story. My sons (age 7 and 4) really enjoyed hearing me read it aloud.
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This is a good book for kindergarten students.  It is easy to follow along, the sounds the sheep make are fun for the students to chime in and do with the teacher.  The storyline is easy to follow and lends itself nicely to discussions about treating each other fairly and getting along with others.  The kids will like this book!
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This is another picture book saved by the fun illustrations. The story centers around sheep that are each different in one way -- curly horns instead of straight, white wool instead of black, using silly words, etc. They each get discriminated against by the crowd at one time or another yet still discriminate based on the ways they each match each other. Forced dialog and stilted writing tells of how they all meet and get along ("Hello," said Brian. "Let's all be friends!" But Cassidy, Ernest and Lou said...). The writing reminded me very much of what educator Charlotte Mason called "twaddle" -- picture books devoid of enriching vocabulary, rhythm and story telling -- the kind of writing you see in books written about Barbie. The moral is heavy handed and predictable -- they're all mean to each other and then feel bad when they're excluded themselves, then a wolf comes along and they have to band together against a common enemy and see how great they all are after all. This is not the kind of book I'd enjoy reading again and again to my kids. It's a bit like reading a Dick and Jane book, unfortunately. As mentioned, the artwork is colorful and fun, though.

My rating system:

1 = hated it
2 = it was okay
3 = liked it
4 = really liked it
5 = love it, plan to purchase, and/or would buy it again if it was lost

I read a temporary digital ARC of the book for the purpose of review.
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This is such a cute book, but with a strong message. The illustrations are beautifully done. The book teaches kids that despite our differences, friendships can still be forged.
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Brian the Brave is a nicely illustrated story.  The intent of the story is a great one.  It is meant to be about friendship, learning to accept each other's differences, and standing up for what is right.

I had a couple of problems with the book.  First, there were a lot of sheep who were quickly introduced,  and it was hard to keep up with them and their various differences (black, white, curly horn, etc).  

Second, and more importantly, I am not crazy about how the sheep went from excluding each other to all ganging up on the wolf.  I know the wolf was big and scary and had bad intentions, but in school we don't encourage children to go all "vigilante justice".  We teach them to walk away or to find an adult.   We don't suggest they all band together to beat up the wolf so he will leave.  

I enjoyed the illustrations. I liked the contrast of how when the sheep were playing, the curved text of "round and round the field and over the little hill" suggested playfulness, but instead the reality was that someone was being excluded.  

Also, Brian was brave, and he does provide a good example of standing up for what is right.  

Thanks to Netgalley for the advance reading copy.  #netgalley #brianthebrave
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I love the message of acceptance the author tells through the story of Brian the sheep.  I love the illustrations (although the wolf will make some children cry).  However, the text seems a bit stilted and doesn’t flow as well as I hoped.  I worry that the story is less of a story and more of a lesson; which may not deliver the intended message  without sounding pedantic.
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I received an electronic ARC from Flyaway Books through NetGalley.
Brian the sheep tries to be friends with all the other sheep. However, most of them prefer to create cliques and small groups that leave someone out. He stands tall and calls them out on this. Things go well until something happens and Brian is excluded again. He runs away; encounters a wolf; tries to warn the rest of them, but is too late. In the end, he rallies them and they defeat the wolf.
Stewart presents a valuable lesson on getting along and being open to playing with everyone. Terrific book to use at the elementary level to talk about playground and classroom behavior. Characters are easy to relate to whether in sheep or human form.
Illustrations show character expressions and action.
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A big concept brought down to the basics for this children's book about differences. Somewhat silly but perfect for engaging young children in a conversation about making friends who are different than you. The book also shows children that if you work together, despite your differences, you can beat the biggest bully of all.
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There are about 8 sheep in this story. I can’t tell you their names because the author didn’t develop their personalities and I couldn’t easily tell one from another.  There wasn’t anything notable in the illustrations to differentiate them either. The point of the book was that some sheep excluded others based on appearance. The horned sheep didn’t want to play with those who had no horns. Some others excluded sheep based on the color of their fleece.

One of the sheep made up the strange word bungalungabam.  The others told him it wasn’t a real word and once again you find them being inclusive and exclusive in whatever ways they please.

I felt like the author might have some underlying agenda. I won’t even begin to speculate what it might be, though I have several ideas. I’ll let you be the judge of that for yourself. 

 I received an electronic copy from the galley in exchange for my honest opinions.
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I found this book a bit confusing.  The illustrations and storyline didn't seem to match, making it difficult to understand.  A child may need more story or illustrations that make it more obvious. It wasn't clear that Rose chose Stanley over Brian. Was Brian sad that Rose left or because of what Stanley said to him?
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Brian the Brave is a sheep who just wants to play with everyone. As new sheep come into the pasture he quickly learns that not all sheep want to play together. Some only want to play with those who look just like them, or those who have horns and other only want to play with sheep that have black wool. Everyone is going their separate way, until the wolf comes onto the scene. Then the sheep, led by Brian the Brave, realize they have to work together if they want to make it out of this story alive. They learn to cooperate and work together. This book will be a great teaching tool for fairness and and kindness. What a great tool for a storytime read and discussion. Pre-schoolers and K-2 kids will get this book.
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