Picture Book Contest: No Birthday for My Brother

I don’t usually post on Saturday…except when there is something special…which there is today!!

Susanna Leonard Hill is holding one of her FAMOUS picture book contests…the topic this time is a unique or unusual birthday celebration.  Please click on her link and visit…I know there will be lots of great entries!


Birthdays mean CAKE!


Birthdays mean opening presents!


Birthdays mean fun and games and balloons and friends!

In No Brother for My Birthday, a young girl doesn’t want her little brother to be at her birthday party because he is noisy and always in the way.  She finds a very ingenious way to dispose of him…but, almost as soon as he is gone, she begins to miss him.  Read on to find out what happens.  I hope you enjoy it!


No Brother for My Birthday

I’ve a brother, he’s a bother…told my mother and my father.

To my birthday he’s not coming.  He’s too noisy, keeps on drumming.

He can travel to Aunt Lizzy and to Uncle Elmo Frizzy.

So on Monday I got busy…worked so hard my head got dizzy.

Packed my brother in a big box…gave him cookies and his pet rocks.

Closed the edges, taped them tightly…glued the label, not so lightly.

Tuesday came and I felt sickly…to the mailbox I walked quickly.

Slid the package down the drop slot…goodbye noisy drumming marplot.

All day Wednesday, peace and quiet…no more noisy drumming riot.

Thursday dawns and I’ve decided…solitaire is too one-sided.

Friday night I’m sad and gloomy.  This big house is just too roomy.

One more day until my birthday…Saturday is NOT a mirth day.

Sunday noontime, guests arriving.  House is hopping, party’s thriving.

Friends are happy, eating, drinking.  I am sad, I can’t stop thinking.

Then I hear the doorbell ringing…mailman stands there, what’s he bringing?

There’s a big box, taped up tightly…with a label, glued not lightly.

Stamped in red I find a clue…return to sender, postage due!

Hear a rhythm, sounds like thrumming.  Could it be my brother drumming?

Rip the tape off, lift the corner…up pops brother like Jack Horner!

He’s the best gift of the lot, my noisy brother – drumming marplot.



 I had a lot of fun writing this story…although my husband is now questioning my morals because I’ve created a little girl who packs her brother in a box and mails him away.  Seriously though, I think kids will get a kick out of it…and will identify with the frustrations of the older sister who has to “put up with” her noisy drumming marplot of a brother, but then misses him so much she cannot enjoy her birthday party.  Oh yes, and I had to get out the dictionary to prove that “marplot” was a real word!

 I can’t wait to see all of the entries in this contest!

54 thoughts on “Picture Book Contest: No Birthday for My Brother

  1. What a wonderful way to start a Saturday! The pictures are delightful, and I haven’t heard anyone use ‘marplot’ in years! I can see it now, a new craze, little children working ‘marplot’ into their sentences! I love it.
    But I’m still scratching my head, wondering how big the mail slot had to be to mail the box, and how could that little guy breathe? I’m still smiling that he at least had his cookies and pet rocks. ;=)


    • Teehee! Yup…my sister and husband raised the same issue. 🙂 It was one of those BIG mailboxes with a HUGE slot. 🙂 The kind we can only find in picture book stories. 🙂
      Thanks, Marylin, for stopping by…I’m looking forward to reading your post tomorrow with the Mother’s Day card contest winners. 🙂


  2. Great story, Viv! I can picture Leigha maling Josh without benefit of cake or toys. I think I’ll keep the story to myself!


    • Thank you, Marilou! I had so much fun writing it. 🙂 The Batman birthday was a party my grandson went to (he is the one going up to Batman)…I actually was surprised because from the picture, it looks pretty scary for little ones…but my daughter said he LOVED it.


  3. Terrific, Vivian! Very entertaining! And I have to tell you, I’ve written a birthday story in which a grandmother mails herself to her granddaughter, so I’m glad to see I’m not the only one who thinks it’s OK to mail people! 🙂 Very fun!


    • I’m so glad you liked it, Susanna! I’m always telling my kids that I am so small, I could just about fit in a suitcase and travel back with them when they go home…hmmmm….do I feel another story coming on? 🙂
      I just got home from work and after dinner I will read the entries that you have in the contest so far…looking forward to it. 🙂


  4. I liked your story and everyone sooner or later would like to mail their sibling away…it doesn’t mean you don’t love them. I love that the box came back. I was curious to find out how she was going to get her brother back.


    • So glad you stopped by, Rena! And I’m glad you liked the story. 🙂 Even before she mailed him away, she was already “feeling sickly”…I guess it was a good thing she didn’t put enough postage on the box. 🙂


  5. Well, you had me at “Birthdays mean CAKE” and now I am doubly delighted to have seen ‘marplot’ in use! Great job!


    • Hi Cathy,
      So appreciate you stopping by with your lovely comment. 🙂
      And I LOVE the word marplot…but so many people don’t believe me that it is a REAL word…I think we have to use “big” words with little kids sometimes…we can always put a dictionary of the “unknown” words at the back of the book…I have actually seen that in some recent picture books.


    • Thanks, Laura, for stopping by! And I’m glad to have so many people back me up with the mailing the brother idea and think it is funny…I wouldn’t want to give anyone the wrong idea. 🙂 Although my older sister and I didn’t always get along, mailing her away never occured to me…I’ll have to ask her if she wanted to package me up.


  6. Oh, that’s quite a funny story! I read something similar to my kids about a little brother getting on the big brother’s nerves and he shipped him to the moon (figure of speech). My kids loved it, to give you an idea this type of story works.


    • Milka…I’m so happy there are other stories like this because I can tell my husband and he won’t think I am totally crazy. 🙂 Each time I reread it, it makes me smile and I can visualize the illustrations I’d love to see with it…so I think that is a good sign. 🙂 Thanks for the kind words!


      • I think funny illustrations and a face full of guilt would really help too. The book is called Mail Harry to the Moon. Check it out, it really is well written (and illustrated) and shows the issues arousing from having a new baby brother.


      • Also try Sophie Peterman tells the truth! when it comes to disliking your baby brother. Its tongue-in-cheek tone is hilarious. I LOVE the negative reviews on Amazon about this book, from people who are so uptight and have no sense of humor. It shows you how a funny book can be misinterpreted by others, so your story could have the same few negative reviewers. But I think most parents understand how hard to can be to deal with siblings sometimes and like to share stories about kids struggling to adapt to a new situation. EVERY parent with more than one kid should appreciate this type of story and enjoy the humor in it. It’s sad to see so many people who don’t get the joke and have zero imagination.


        • You’re so right, Milka…sometime humor is the way to go…and it enables families to talk about difficult topics!  You are a wonderful resource for all of us…thank you for always sharing!!!   


  7. What a great story! The imagination is so active. Are you sure you’re not a kid? lol. I loved it. I think a lot of older siblings want to return their baby brothers to the stork after they arrive so this should fit right in.

    Thanks for your contribution to Susanna’s contest, Vivian. 🙂


  8. My daughter would love to mail her brother away! haha! Actually, I read a story from long ago in which someone was really mailed! Fun story!


    • Thanks so much, Heather! Isn’t marplot a great word? I really think that using words like that with young kids is fun and vocabulary-empowering. 🙂 We should all get together and write a funny book about the things WE did to our siblings…or they did to us. 🙂


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  10. This was so cool Vivian, I had to read it out loud to my husband…. we laughed. It so resonated with me as I remember how absolutely annoying my younger brother was, and I would have dearly loved to pack him off somewhere….anywhere…lol. Like Pat I agree work with it, as it would make a great picture book.


    • Diane…I don’t think you know how happy your wonderful comment makes me feel…what a great way to start Monday morning!!!! It’s one thing to read it to my daughter or husband and have them praise it…it is quite another to hear so many writers, who have been honing their craft for many years, say lovely things about it. 🙂 Thank you so much for the encouragement!!!


  11. I like stories with a realistic twist. A lot of kids want to pack and ship their siblings. The postage due was clever!


    • I’ve had stuff returned to me once or twice with the red stamp across it…it stuck in my mind and I thought it would be a great reason for the box to come back to her…just in time! Glad you liked it, Stacy. 🙂


    • So glad you stopped by, Lori…and I’m glad you liked the story. 🙂 It’s so funny about “marplot”…so many people (my husband and sister included) didn’t believe it was a real word…I actually had to show my husband the word in the dictionary!


  12. Well done, Vivian! I loved the pacing of your rhymes and I loved your main character. Interestingly, I felt a bit of this story channeling “The Tell-Tale Heart” by Poe. Guilt can be a powerful thing–Glad his brother turned out okay!


    • I really appreciate your insightful comment, Anthony! Thanks so much for stopping by. 🙂 You’ve given me another twist on the story…I loved “The Tell-tale Heart”…yes, she hears a thrumming…could it be her brother drumming? Or maybe his heart beating. 🙂


    • Just got home from visiting our twin 6-year old grandchildren…read the rhyme to them and asked them if they would be my focus group and honestly tell me what they thought…Emily said, “Please read it again!” Josh said, “I like it…it is wierd funny!”
      Your kind words are especially meaningful…I went to your site and realize how dedicated you are about critiquing stories…so thank you, Sabrina…so glad you liked it…I, too, can see the illustrations…wish I could draw them. 🙂


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