Publishers Weekly, 2002-07-08 Axelrod's (Pigs Will Be Pigs) familiar tale of sibling rivalry overextends its slim premise. Max plans to use his birthday wish to turn his menace of a big brother, Gordon, into an ugly and pathetically puny bug. Max's extended fantasy ("Let's see how he likes it when all his legs get stuck on the flypaper I'll put up on his walls. I'll be the one laughing then") alternates with recollections of Gordon's nefarious deeds (e.g., at a Chinese restaurant, Gordon puts chopsticks in Max's ears). But maybe Max will give Gordon one "last chance." The author keeps the stakes low (even the protagonist seems dubious that his wish will come true) and resolves the conflict facilely when Max needs help, the supposedly rotten Gordon quickly bails him out. Davis's (Marsupial Sue) watercolor-and-ink pictures favor a mild gross-out goofiness in their dizzy perspectives and unappetizing colors. Sporting freakish hairdos and bulging eyes on their oversize, misshapen heads, the characters suggest a kind of subversiveness not evident in the formulaic text. Ages 5-8. (Aug.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved
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