cover image The Family Reunion

The Family Reunion

Tricia Tusa. Farrar Straus Giroux, $15 (1pp) ISBN 978-0-374-32268-7

The more the merrier is a philosophy adopted by the zany crew of characters in Tusa's ( Sherman and Pearl ) latest picture book. The Beneada family is so large that when a couple that no one recognizes shows up at the family reunion, they are quickly swept into the party. Rather than admit they don't know who the newest guests are, the Beneada clan tries to make Esther and Fester feel at home, meanwhile racking their collective brains for the long-lost relatives' identity. After much mayhem--including numerous astonishing doughnut impersonations and a spate of belly-button examinations--the mystery is solved. Though Tusa's text lacks a strong plot, it contains plenty of comic flair delivered in a deadpan tone. Softly hued watercolors depict gangly and sometimes potbellied aunts, uncles and cousins sporting an array of not-so-flattering wardrobes. Busy scenes provide lots of hilarious detail when family members sample party food or share such talents as accordion-playing, dancing or imitating a rock. In addition to its harmless-joke quality, this silly outing may reassure readers that their own families aren't so unusual. Ages 4-8. (Oct.)