Book Review: The Great Big Book of Families by Mary Hoffman

great big book of families

The Great Big Book of Families by Mary Hoffman, illustrated by Ros Asquith

This book celebrates all of the different sorts of families there are.  It starts with a stereotypical family of blonde, white mom and dad, two kids (a boy and a girl), a dog and a cat.  They even come complete with the picket fence and apple tree.  Turn the page and you are in reality with families of different colors, single parents, grandparents, two mothers, two fathers, and adoptive families.  The book then moves on to family sizes, different homes, different ways to go to school, different ways parents work, the holidays families take, the food we eat, clothes, pets, hobbies, and much more.  The book ends by expressing a very important message that families change.  So what does your family look like today?

Another facet of this book is the celebration of families of different incomes and wealth.  Nothing is put down, just mentioned as different from one another.  Children may not notice the differences, but if you are a child struggling with poverty, it is good to see yourself represented here matter-of-factly and honestly.  Hoffman’s entire text is written in this straight forward way, she is inclusive, expansive and above everything non-judgmental. 

Asquith’s illustrations have a nice sense of humor that keeps the book from being too earnest.  They have a quirky feel, a silliness that makes the book a pleasure to read.

Every library needs a copy of this warm, welcoming book where all children will see parts of themselves represented.  Appropriate for ages 4-7.

Reviewed from copy received from Dial Books.

Book Review: Catch That Baby by Nancy Coffelt

catch that baby

Catch That Baby! by Nancy Coffelt, illustrated by Scott Nash

Starting from the title pages, Rudy’s mom has to catch him to get him into the bath.  But once the bath is over, the real chase begins as “Nudie Rudy” runs through the house.  Mom tries to catch him, but he runs into the living room.  His Mom and brother run after him, but he’s into the kitchen.  Now the dog, his father, and his sister join the chase.  But Rudy is off into the back of the house, filled with plants.  Now grandma and grandpa help look, because Rudy has disappeared.  What in the world could he be up to now?

Coffelt’s text ties this wild naked baby chase closely with The Gingerbread Man as more and more characters join in trying to catch Rudy.  The story telling is split between narrative and dialogue, shown in speech bubbles.  This keeps the pace of the story racing along with Rudy from page to page.

Nash’s art has bright colors and a comic book feel to its lines.  He uses objects and the dog to cleverly block any frontal nudity from view, instead showing chubby legs, flying feet, and a bare bottom. 

There is a real humor to the book, so much so that you can almost hear the giggle of this naked little racing boy.  The twist at the end is endearing and a natural part of the story.  A great pick for toddlers, this book is appropriate for ages 2-4.

Reviewed from copy received from Aladdin.