Brothers & Sisters


It seems that for ‘two who years/ Dad wouldn’t talk/ to his brother, and his brother/ wouldn’t talk to him‘. In Uncle Leonard, we join the child, watching their parent’s reconciliation with his brother. What he makes of it is charming and warm.

Then again, Brothers & Sisters is an intimate, knowing collection of poems. We move from contemplating brothers- ‘I push him and he turns around,/ I take him, he hits the ground’  to looking at brothers we know. For example, the poet compares Grandpa and Great- Uncle Paul. While ‘Grandpa just says, ‘It’s hot!’/ – his brother says, ‘Oh boy, is it steaming!/ The way that summer sun is beaming,/ no living should should step outside/ unless he wants to be fried.’

It seems that alongside the characters who narrate these poems, we’re considering and comparing our own relationships. It might be with our own brothers and sisters, or then those we know and see.

There is such empathy, wisdom and maturity in Brothers & Sisters. What’s more, the rhyme and literary precision delight. Altogether, Brothers & Sisters is recommended as a poetry book to read aloud, share with others, read alone and know and look over, gift and cherish.

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Brothers & Sisters

Family Poems

Eloise Greenfield, illustrated by Jan Spivey Gilchrist


It seems that each of us juggle with the complexity of family relationships and feelings. Therefore, when we read Brothers & Sisters by Eloise Greenfield we recognise roles and dynamics. For example, in the title poem, we know that our siblings ‘can be dear,/ can be company,/ can bring cheer…’ However, we know they ‘can start arguments,/ can make noise/ can cause tears/ can break toys.’ What’s more, there can be times that we ‘wish/ [we] didn’t have any.’ Then again, there are times that siblings, for whatever reason, perplex or delight us. Just read Grandma and her Sisters- ‘They talk fast, talk/ at the same time, letting/ their words/ tumble,/ too tickled to finish/ their sentences. Sisters,/ laughing, laughing/ about being girls together.
Then again, there is the loyalty that families know so that ‘You can’t talk mean to my little sister/ now when I’m standing near/ – did I make that clear?’ What’s more, so many of us, post- pandemic, look forward to the Zigzag of a ‘Family reunion,/ picnic,/ brother and sister,/ the fabulous soccer two…’
Bookwagon loves this poet’s work, so respected, particularly in the United States. Alongside this title, we are proud to recommend Thinker My Puppy Poet and Me. Meanwhile, Brothers & Sisters is a title recommended for reading aloud, reading alone, gifting, quoting, knowing and loving.


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