cover image Family Reunion

Family Reunion

Marilyn Singer. Atheneum Books, $14.95 (32pp) ISBN 978-0-02-782883-2

In a series of jaunty poems, Singer (Turtle in July) sets forth the idiosyncrasies and cheerful activities that characterize the large family reunion held in Small Park. Like the musicians in Aunt Dena's ``family band,'' the child narrator's relatives are ``perfectly out-of-tune/ and perfectly in harmony.'' The book has no conventional plot, but the escapades of various aunts and uncles and cousins form discrete poem-chapters that will sustain the interest of even the youngest readers. While ``patrolling the pond'' in faded blue pedal boats, for example, the children mourn what they think is a dead beaver-until Uncle Bill fishes it out, a waterlogged wig. Quarrelsome Cousin George gets his comeuppance when Max drops a bug down his back. Although the verses are filled with apt images and telling details, they are more like prose sentences, with line breaks and indentations in place of the usual commas and periods: ``Chucka chucka ding/ goes Peter/ running his teeth up and down the cob/ like an old-fashioned typewriter carriage/ flying across the page.'' Alley's (Mrs. Toggle's Zipper) lively illustrations combine the pleasing, cartoony figures and action of Lynn Munsinger with the busyness of Richard Scarry, lending a complex visual counterpart to the extended family's exploits. Readers will agree that this reunion stars ``quite a family!'' All ages. (Aug.)