21 July 2009

Revsiting a Classic: The Realtives Came by Cynthia Rylant

We've just had an extended family visit, which has put me in mind of this jaunty and joyful collaboration between Cynthia Rylant and Stephen Gammell. Combining oft-repeated text, numerous references to food, and energetic colored pencil illustrations, The Relatives Came perfectly expresses the loving claustrophobia of a family visit, and then the bittersweet stillness when they are gone. The cover sets the tone, with a multicolored, jam-packed vehicle literally bouncing off the road with the eagerness of its occupants to reach their destination. The ensuing hugging and merriment makes for a cheery reading experience. The book, published in 1985 won a well-deserved Caldecott Honor Award. And although it chronicles a summer visit, I often use it for Thanksgiving storytimes, because of its loving, family-oriented theme. A winner at any time of the year.

2 comments:

lizaanne42 said...

What a lovely review. I'm always on the lookout for good read-aloud/ picture books for my 7th grade class. They are useful to introduce a concept, which we then build into a bigger lesson. I will definitely check this book out when we do our family unit. Another of my favorite read alouds "Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs" is being turned into a film this year.
--Lizaanne

Kara Schaff Dean said...

hi Lizaanne--thanks for stopping by! You really can't go wrong with this one. The tone of the text and the activity of the illustrations is completely feel-good. And I'm so excited to hear that you read picture books to your seventh graders! As I like to say, "picture book" is a format, not a reading level. There is a lot of wisdom in picture books.

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