Brian the Brave


Brian is a sheep with white wool and curly horns. He ives on a hillside farm, where he eats grass. When Rosie arrives, Brian is quick to invite her to become his friend. They play chasing games, ‘round and round the fields and over the little hill.’ 

An opportunity for more friends seems possible when Stanley arrives, but Brian is rejected. Will friendships with Tracey and Frank, Cassidy, Hamish and Lou be possible? What is wrong with Brian? Brian is a sheep, and so are the others!

Brian the Brave‘ accepts his lot very, very sadly. He recognises feelings of rejection when they are evident in other hillside sheep. He recognises danger when he sees it too… Will he alert his would-be friends? What might they act together?

I love Paul Stewart’s story building. He uses repetition in the text and shaping of the words to indicate emotions and routine. His portrait of Brian is really respectful. We know Brian’s character more than we know his looks, which is an important marker in the story.

Jane Porter is a Bookwagon discovery. We’ve loved her works since Pink Lion and introduced King Otter recently, with delight. Wings, her earlier collaboration with Paul Stewart, is a Bookwagon favourite. It’s all understandable. Rather like Brian, you need to be in the company of these books. They are true ‘forever’, characterful picture book stories.


Brian the Brave

Paul Stewart and Jane Porter

(Otter-Barry)– hardback

Brian the Brave‘ minds his own business, eating grass on his hillside farm. Rose offers friendship and chasing games. However when Stanley arrives, the dynamic changes; Brian is not allowed to join Stanley and Rose’s chasing games for the reason that he looks different. Brian is a sheep! It seems like the situation might be remedied by Tracey and Frank’s arrival. Maybe Cassidy, Hamish and Lou will hang out with Brian?
Through clever construction of text and pictures, Paul Stewart and Jane Porter track the introduction, the game playing, and interaction of the sheep in ‘Brian the Brave’. Furthermore, the reader empathises with Brian, rejects the notion of separation, and cheers on Brian’s exciting and dangerous altercation. (How is Brian brave?)
Bookwagon loves Wings an earlier collaboration between these two picture book makers, and delights in Jane Porter’s individual titles Pink Lion and King Otter. Therefore, we are thrilled to welcome ‘Brian the Brave’ aboard. ‘ Let’s be friends.’ 

Derby Children’s Picture Book Award Winner


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