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.