A Family Is a Family Is a Family by Sara O’Leary, illustrated by Qin Leng (InfoSoup)
A teacher in a classroom asks her class what they think make their families special. One little girl hesitates to answer, knowing that her family is not like everyone else’s. The children begin to share about their families. There are children being raised by two fathers and two mothers, another who is parented by a grandmother. Some have huge families with lots of siblings and others are only children. Some have a new baby and others have stepbrothers and sisters. Each family is different and special in its own way. By the end, the little girl knows that whatever structure her family has, all that matters is that there is lots of love.
O’Leary does not lecture about families here. Rather she shows the wide variety that there are in families and how each of those is based on love. There is no need to be didactic, as every child will see themselves in the pages of this book. It is a wise way to look at families, since each is just as special and marvelous as the one before. The emphasis here is on love itself, the care that is given to children in each of those families no matter their structure.
Leng’s illustrations add so much warmth to this picture book. The illustrations are full of details and invite readers to look closely. Each page zings with energy from the mothers singing under the night sky to the child who lives with both her father and mother, just at different times. There is a playfulness on the pages too, which makes each family come to life.
A strong picture book about diversity and families, this book is filled with warmth and love and not lectures. Appropriate for ages 3-5.
Reviewed from library copy.
How This Book Was Made by Mac Barnett, illustrated by Adam Rex (InfoSoup)
How is a book made? Well this book was made in the regular way with an author making many drafts, and editor offering firm advice, an illustrator taking a long time to create the art, and it being printed halfway around the world. But it is also an amazing story and one that will surprise when the tiger keeps reappearing, the pirates raid the slow boat full of books, and the news that there is one last important piece to the book really being A BOOK. You will just have to read this book to see what that is.
Any book by Barnett and Rex is going to be wonderfully surprising and funny. This book is no exception. Barnett immediately makes sure that this book is not taken too seriously by starting it with him arm wrestling a tiger. The tiger then returns at important moments in the book, sometimes to be scared off and other times with a posse. The editor’s role is also depicted in the book with a lot of tongue-in-cheek but also honesty too. Throughout there is real information on how books get made with plenty of imagination added as well. Just like any book.
Rex’s illustrations are done with pencil on paper combined with photography. Some of the illustrations have cotton clouds and others are 3-d objects or 2-d objects photographed. This gives a great sense of space and distance, shadows lengthening across the page. Throughout the art is as clever as the words, which is a compliment to both.
A funny and imaginative look at the making of this book, both unique to this book and universal to the process. Appropriate for ages 4-6.
Reviewed from library copy.