Book Review: Spencer and Vincent the Jellyfish Brothers, Tony Johnston

Spencer and Vincent The Jellyfish Brothers
Author: Tony Johnston
Illustrator: Emily Dove
Publisher: Paula Wiseman Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers
Ages: 4-8
Genre: Picture book

Two jellyfish brothers sing a sweet (not smelly) song of love to each other as they blob along on the ocean waves. They don’t have much else, but they have each other, and that’s enough. Until a storm brews up from far away (perhaps in Patagonia) and tears the siblings apart. Spencer, with the assistance of some aquatic friends, heads on a rescue mission to find his brother Vincent (who’s sweet, not smelly).

Shimmering blue and green illustrations flood the pages of this undersea adventure, and the colors of the sea reflect the emotion in the story. Tiny adorable jellyfish, a ginormous whale, a glittering mermaid, and other astounding creatures make an appearance.

The text has an astoundingly distinct voice—it feels like it would be best read by a delightful British grandma. Littles will love “singing” along with the brothers’ song of love for each other. An interestingly advanced vocabulary woven in the story makes sense in context but might also lend itself well to teaching older kiddos how to use a dictionary (umm, not everyone knows what “regaled” or “swashed” means and that’s ok!). A fun author’s note at the end helps little readers to learn a little more about jellyfish.

This sweet (not smelly) story is a quirky celebration of sibling love and friendship and is definitely worth searching out at your local library.


  1. […] This sweet story about persistence, invention, and finding treasure in unexpected places is an important tale for trying times and a notable collection of undersea images that are not to be missed. I can’t wait to see more of Raissa Figueroa’s work, and I’m sure you’ll agree! If the wait list for this book at your library is anything like the one at mine— get in line to reserve it asap! And if you’re yearning for more undersea adventures, check out my reviews of Crab Cake and Spencer and Vincent the Jellyfish Brothers. […]


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