cover image Welcome to the Family

Welcome to the Family

Mary Hoffman, illus. by Ros Asquith. Frances Lincoln/Otter-Barry (PGW, dist.), $17.99 (32p) ISBN 978-1-84780-592-8

Hoffman and Asquith, the duo behind The Great Big Book of Families and The Great Big Book of Emotions, explore the many permutations families can take and the feelings they can engender. With forthright prose dashed with humor, Hoffman covers living habits (solo, with friends, as families), different ways children join families (through childbirth, adoption, fostering, or fertility treatments), and families that might include same-sex parents or stepparents ("This is called %E2%80%98blending' two families. But it's not like blending a milkshake; it doesn't always go smoothly"). Asquith's loosely rendered cartoons do their own part to keep the mood upbeat%E2%80%94a recurring teddy bear character offers running commentary ("Making teddies seems easier," it thinks during a discussion of the male and female cells needed to make a baby), and in a scene in which soon-to-be stepsiblings meet, the two sets of kids (and their dogs) all glare at each other, driving home Hoffman's point about milkshakes. With a cast that's diverse both ethnically and in terms of familial makeup, this is a solid resource for families seeking to demystify a variety of topics related to home life. Ages 5%E2%80%938. (Sept.)