Family Tree

Pierre Coran, Author, Marie-Jos Sacre, Illustrator Carolrhoda Books $15.95 (32p) ISBN 978-1-57505-219-9
A Belgian team explores the question of where an adoptee fits on the family tree. Vibrant, exaggerated portraits, one per spread, bubble with affection and humor, but overall the execution is bumpy. The text facing each portrait feels flat and utilitarian, serving primarily as a brief r sum for each relative: ""Aunt Alice is an artist. When she isn't painting, she does yoga--that's all kinds of stretchy exercises."" A family tree, pictured on both opening and closing spreads, is meant to help keep the many relatives straight, but since there's no plot or character development, readers will likely forget them; and the instruction on every spread, ""If you're having trouble following me, take a look at the family tree,"" quickly grows tiresome. The adoption itself is handled cavalierly. The narrator, introduced as an infant in the final two spreads, states simply that she ""no longer had a family"" in her native land, and though she is darker-skinned than her adoptive parents, the text never addresses the interracial nature of the adoption. Readers will be better off with a host of other titles that handle both adoption and interracial families in greater depth. Ages 3-7. (Mar.)
Reviewed on: 11/30/1998
Release date: 12/01/1998
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