cover image Beginnings: How Families Come to Be

Beginnings: How Families Come to Be

Virginia Kroll. Albert Whitman & Company, $15.95 (1pp) ISBN 978-0-8075-0602-8

Half a dozen thumbnail sketches illustrate various ways to enlarge a family: birth, adoption (open and closed, domestic and foreign), guardianship, single parenthood and so on. Each features a child asking a parent to tell ``the story of me,'' ``how you became my now mom,'' etc. The responses are both loving and reassuring (``I kept thinking how beautifully black braids went with blond buzz cuts,'' one father tells his handicapped adopted daughter) as well as instructive. Kroll carefully selects children from a variety of backgrounds (urban, suburban, healthy, disabled, white, Asian American, Hispanic, African American), and although the result feels slightly staged, it is respectful and never condescending. Kroll's thoughtful prose is ably matched by Schuett's homey, realistic illustrations, which fairly exude warmth. An agreeable reminder that happy families come in all colors and combinations. Ages 3-9. (Mar.)