cover image All Kinds of Families!

All Kinds of Families!

Mary Ann Hoberman, , illus. by Marc Boutavant. . Little, Brown, $16.99 (40pp) ISBN 978-0-316-14633-3

Hoberman's (A House Is a House for Me ) whimsical rhyming treatise on what constitutes a family will have children looking for myriad ways to use that classification. “Eggs in a carton can seem like a family/ So can a loaf with its slices of bread/ Celery stalks or a big bunch of carrots/ They sleep in the fridge with a drawer for a bed.” The playful verses (“Clams in the sea make a clammily family/ Lambs in the field make a lambily family...”) posit that any grouping can be termed a family, which has the effect of reducing the idea of family to little more than proximity. Small surprises and vibrant colors give Boutavant's digital artwork visual appeal—tiny faces appear on everything from rocks to shells to food, and in one scene leaves on a tree are actually letters and symbols. The 1970s-era retro feel of the art, a fresh counterpoint to the earnest prose, should appeal to kids and hipster parents alike. Readers will close the book with a sense of belonging, though the question of why may be less clear. Ages 3–6. (Aug.)