Tuesday, March 30, 2010

The Relatives Came by Cynthia Rylant and illustrated by Stephen Gammell

The Relatives Came by Cynthia Rylant and illustrated by Stephen Gammell is a classic book that has received a lot of positive recognition. I believe it deserves all the praise it has been given. I can see this book (and I have used it) in a classroom setting. There are many themes that can be drawn from reading this book. For example, vacations, family, relationships, etc.
The Relatives Came follows the life of a family who experiences their extended family coming to visit their home. Coming all the way from Virginia, everyone is relieved once they arrive at their destination. The family spends quality time together. They hug, play, cry, and laugh together. The author explores the family practices such as meals, adjusted sleep situation, and how they spent some quality time together. The visit was longer than most (all summer), and everyone enjoyed it. When it is time for everyone to go, everyone feels a little sad that their time together is over and would miss each other.
This book is so positive. I feel as though many readers could relate to the experiences had by the characters. Even if their family may not be as large or as close, it is a nice topic to read about. I believe the author used descriptive language very well, and I could clearly make a mental picture to go along with what I was reading.
Although I was making my own mental pictures, I enjoyed looking at the pictures done by the illustrator. They were simple but detailed. The expressions of the family members were always done well. The emotions on their faces were always clear. All of the illustrations covered most of the entire page and continued on to the next page, and I thought those were great. The pictures reminded me of colored pencil, but I don't think that was the tool that was used.
I have nothing but praise for this book. If you are unfamiliar with this book, I strongly suggest you read it. The language used makes readers feel as though they are a part of the family and experiencing what is happening in the book.

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