Story by Cynthia Rylant
Illustrated by Stephen Gammell
Award: Caldecott Honor
This is one of my favorite Cynthia Rylant's books! I love the imagery that she creates by her use of easy-flowing language.
Book Talk: The relatives live in Virginia and they travel to the storyteller's home. When they arrive, there are endless rounds of hugs at the car....in the yard to the house.....and through the house.
One of my favorite lines: "You have to go through at least four different hugs to get from the kitchen to the front room. Those relatives!"
The storyteller describes the meals together and the after-meal 'glow'. Her description of the crowded sleeping arrangements is humorous, yet sweet.
Another favorite line:
"It was different going to sleep with all that new breathing going on."
The summer continues, the relatives stay for weeks and weeks--eating, fixing things, playing music, sleeping and of course, hugging!
The story ends with the relatives going back home to Virginia in their rainbowed colored car--with promises of returning next summer.
Stephen Gammell won a Caldecott Honor Award for his explicit, yet humorous, colorful illustrations.
Suggested uses as a Mentor Text:
Genre: Realistic Fiction
Reading Workshop Strategies: Making Connections, Inferring, Visualizing, Maintaining Fluency
Writing Workshop Genre and Strategies: Narrative, Memoir, Writer's Voice
Grammar: adjectives, sentence fluency
Curricular themes: family, extended family, traditions
Cynthia Rylant's webpage: http://www.cynthiarylant.com/