Tuesday, March 30, 2010

The Graves Family by Patricia Polacco

The Graves Family by Patricia Polacco was a book I selected because I had heard great things from one of my instructors about this author. In fact, the next book I will blog about is also by Polacco as well. There were so many books to choose fun, but I selected this one because of the cover. It had a slightly haunted look to it. When I read the inside cover, I knew this would be a book I would like to read. My mind started jumping to "I could use this book around Halloween with my future students". Before even reading it, I had high expectations. This book was a lot longer than most picture books I have had the chance to blog about, but that was okay with me.
The Graves family moved into the neighborhood and immediately questions were asked. People questioned where they came from. They painted their house and unusual color (red), and the neighbors were very hesitant to get to know this new family. However, two children from across the street made friends with one of the Graves's children (Ronnie). When they arrived at his house to play one day, they were surprised by everything they saw. It was unlike anything they had ever see before! In fact, this family was unlike any family they had ever encountered. Throughout the book, many things do not go as well as the new family would like regarding their relationship with other community members. It is pretty comical at times. However, in the end, everything turns out for the best and everyone is happy.
This book has a lot of advanced language that may be difficult for younger readers, however, it may be a picture book that is totally appropriate for older students. It would also be the appropriate level for a read aloud to younger students. However, it would be a fairly time consuming book selection. I found myself thinking "older students" as I was reading it. Often, the text filled almost an entire page. It would be a great challenge for many readers.
The illustrations in this book were really good. They were dark and haunted at times, but they were also filled with bright colors at times. The background color of the pages varied (typically black or white), and the text changed accordingly. The book has a "haunted" theme and the illustrator brings these elements to life. Also, the characters in the book are done so well and look realistic.
I was happy to have read this book. Although my thought regarding who this book would be appropriate for and for what time of the year changed slightly, the book lived up for my high expectations.

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