cover image One Big Family

One Big Family

Marc Harshman, illus. by Sara Palacios. Eerdmans, $17 (34p) ISBN 978-0-8028-5388-2

Harshman (Only One Neighborhood), poet laureate of West Virginia, offers a nostalgic tribute to summer get-togethers as he and Palacios (Henry Holton Takes the Ice) follow the reunion of a large family for days of fishing, camping, storytelling, and camaraderie. Written in bursts of unrhymed verse, Harshman’s text shifts attention among the family members, with most sentences concluding with an imperative verb. “When the sun grows hot/ and the water stays cold,/ little brother says/ swim,” he writes as young siblings and cousins jump into a pale blue river, surrounded by forest. Palacios creates a strong resemblance across generations (there are both babes in arms and a great-grandfather in attendance), giving the family’s members pale skin, freckles, and hair in the ambers, reds, and browns of marigolds. Throughout, Harshman and Palacios celebrate the casual chaos of big family gatherings—patchwork quilts stretch across a spread as the kids pile together during a sleepover—and while some minor mishaps pop up, the emphasis is on familial togetherness and the making of memories. Ages 4–8. [em]Illustrator’s agent: Kendra Marcus, Bookstop Literary Agency. (Feb.) [/em]