cover image Catherine and Laurence Anholt's Big Book of Families

Catherine and Laurence Anholt's Big Book of Families

Laurence Anholt, Catherine Anholt. Candlewick Press (MA), $16.99 (32pp) ISBN 978-0-7636-0323-6

This collection of short poems, by turns rollicking and sweet, pays homage to families of various configurations and personalities. The Anholts (Kids; What I Like) capture the many moods and dynamics of families from a child's point of view, via verses grouped in themed spreads with headers such as ""Where do families live?"" ""Brothers and Sisters"" and ""Noise."" Observations on siblings, parents, grandparents and other relatives fly freely here: ""Dads have.../ Big hands and baseball caps,/ Ties and tattoos,/ Shoulders to ride on,/ Shoes like canoes""; ""My brother and sister are fussy,/ My brother and sister are rude."" But as aimless as some of the rhythmic commentary may seem, universal sentiments permeate the energetic verse: no two families are the same, and families are bound by their ""sharing, shouting, teasing and hugging"" and, ultimately, their love. Cheery watercolor spot art (featuring people of varying races and ages) is woven playfully throughout, adding warmth and heart. Ages 3-7. (Nov.)