cover image Dozens of Cousins

Dozens of Cousins

Shutta Crum, illus. by David Catrow. Clarion, $16.99 (32p) ISBN 978-0-618-15874-4

An annual family reunion brings together a passel of carefree cousins in this joyful pairing of Crum’s (Mine!) comically heroic verse with Catrow’s (Have Fun, Molly Lou Melon) equally rollicking pictures. Crum writes in first-person plural, praising the children’s muddy, eager romping with language that wouldn’t be out of place describing a Viking celebration after a successful season of marauding. “Oh, we are rowdy ogres,” she writes. “We roar! We growl!/ We parade out back doors and leap over steps,/ rushing down to the secret grottoes of the creek.” Catrow revels in the swampy setting, as wide-eyed, gap-toothed, rubber-limbed kids bound through the reeds and muck, even persuading their grandparents to cool their toes in the green water (“We put our beastie arms around their squishy middles and squeeeeeze”). Crum goes far beyond a simple appreciation of picnic fare to celebrate life itself: “We pile our plates high—a beastie feast—/ pack tight together, and fidget,/ longing to plunge our sharp teeth/ into the sweet juiciness of the world.” A triumphant ode to family in all of its messy, quirky glory. Ages 4–8. (July)