The Children's Book Compass

Celebrate Families

Posted on: April 17, 2011

The Great Big Book of Families by Mary Hoffman.  Illus. by Ros Asquith.  (2011).  Pages not numbered.  Dial.  Grades K-4.  Nonfiction

Hoffman  and Asquith celebrate the diversity of families and their activities.  The words and illustration joyously team to show how “in real life, families come in all sorts of shapes and sizes. … Lots of children live with their mommy and daddy, but lots of others live with just their daddy or just their mommy.  Some live with their grandma and grandpa.  Some children have two mommies or two daddies.  And some are adopted or live with foster families.”  Hoffman describes twelve topics that involve families:

  • Who’s in Your Family?
  • Homes
  • School
  • Jobs
  • Holidays
  • Food
  • Clothes
  • Pets
  • Celebrations
  • Hobbies
  • Transportation
  • Feelings

Each topic is featured on a two-page spread.  Asquith uses small, animated, colorful cartoon-like pictures to illustrate the multiple activities.  Each item mentioned in the text has an accompanying picture.  Many pages are bordered with items that expand the topic of that page.  The text ends with “So families can be big, small, happy, sad, rich, poor, loud, quiet, mad, good-tempered, worried, or happy-go-lucky.  Most families are all of these things some of the time.  What’s yours like today?”  Children will enjoy answering that question to tell about their own families.

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