by Marimo Ragawa; adaptation by Lance Caselman
published by Viz; $8.99 US
For every girl who’s ever dreamed of having a real life baby doll, here’s the story of a female-less family. Takuya’s mother has passed away, and his dad needs him to take care of his baby brother.
The baby is completely adorable, all big head and huge eyes, barely able to walk or speak. How can anyone resist a little boy asking to make the “owwie go away” or saying he’s “sawwee”? That’s a good thing, because it keeps Takuya and the reader loving him, even when he’s inconvenient or annoying.
Takuya is often frustrated by the responsibilities placed upon him, but he always does the right thing in the end, gaining comfort from his sibling’s unquestioning love. It’s hard for a preteen to have the patience he needs when the baby won’t stop crying or when Takuya has to give up playing with his friends to go pick his brother up from daycare. The stories here are often funny and cute, but they’re also both realistic and heart-warming.
Each of the boys have their own ways of dealing with their grief. The baby acts out when he sees a child with its mother. Dad is already being set up with new potential wives, regardless of whether he’s ready. Takuya wants his mother back because he misses his childhood, his previous life with less responsibilities. He’s also jealous of the way the baby can show his feelings while he can’t. Everyone’s concerned about the youngster while expecting him to cope on his own.
Lots of kids these days are asked to grow up when they’re still awfully young, and even those who aren’t can relate to Takuya’s struggles. There’s always a conflict between chores and other choices that would be more fun. Takyua doesn’t know what to do half the time as he tries to make the baby stop crying or decides which chores have to be done tonight. Still, his sense of duty and his love for his family keeps him going. The moments when the baby is charming and loving make it all worthwhile in this great family series.