Aunt Claire's Yellow Beehive Hair

Aunt Claire's Yellow Beehive Hair

5.0 2
by Deborah Blumenthal, Mary GrandPré
     
 

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Annie longs to know more about her family. One rainy day, Grandma Marilyn takes out dusty photos, faded letters, and a fragile wedding bouquet while telling the stories that bind them together. Annie learns that her Aunt Claire was famous for the beauty creams she created in her kitchen and that an uncle won a medal in the war. Connected to her past, Annie creates

Overview

Annie longs to know more about her family. One rainy day, Grandma Marilyn takes out dusty photos, faded letters, and a fragile wedding bouquet while telling the stories that bind them together. Annie learns that her Aunt Claire was famous for the beauty creams she created in her kitchen and that an uncle won a medal in the war. Connected to her past, Annie creates a special scrapbook with room at the end to add to as her family grows.

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
This volume is not so much about Aunt Claire or her hair as it is about the telling details that set each of young Annie's family members apart. Annie longs to know about her ancestors: "I want to reach into the past and bring them closer to me." With the help of her great-aunt, she does just that, sorting through photographs as well as such memorabilia as yellowed letters with faded handwriting and the lace wedding veil worn by her Swedish Great-Grandma Sophie. GrandPr (Pockets) effortlessly breathes life into these snippets of lives well lived. For instance, in a sepia-toned photograph, dashing Great-Grandpa Louis, who bet on horses, looks flirtatiously over at his wife, conveyed in a dreamy, smoky-blue image on the opposite page, who clearly returns his affection: "Great-Grandma Sadie stayed home/ and sewed tiny silver sequins onto dresses/ and baked twisted breads/ to make back the money/ that Great-Grandpa Louis lost." Blumenthal (The Chocolate-Covered-Cookie Tantrum) and GrandPr create an anecdotal album within an album, making bygone times shine brightly for both the heroine and readers. The artist (best known for the cover art and interior spots for the Harry Potter novels) whimsically mingles images of past and present in radiant pastel paintings, which range from comical to affecting. A family portrait to savor, this may well spark kids' interest in their own family trees. Ages 5-up. (May) Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information.
Children's Literature
This lovingly written picture book is a tribute to the extended family (and to scrapbooking). Young Annie loves it when the whole family gets together to eat and ends up reminiscing. One rainy day, she and Grandma Marilyn decide to make the reminiscing official, and they gather together memorabilia to use as props for fueling their memories. The memories they share are a realistic assortment of everyday, bombastic, sad, happy and bittersweet memories. The family characters are equally holistically portrayed. This is a beautiful book, warmly illustrated by the illustrator of many other picture books and the Harry Potter books. It is a tribute to the past and an acknowledgement of the past as a bridge to the future. A book for families to read together. 2001, Dial Books for Young Readers/Penguin Putnam, $15.99. Ages 6 up. Reviewer: Judy Katsh
School Library Journal
K-Gr 3-When her extended family gathers for meals, young Annie hears the stories about the people in the old photos on her grandmother's mantel, but she wants to know more. So, one rainy afternoon, as she and her grandmother collect pictures and other memorabilia for a family-history album, Annie learns about Aunt Claire's hair and Uncle Charlie's habit of pinching cheeks. The album commemorates lots of proud moments and not a few skeletons, happy times and sad. It will keep the past alive, and, with blank pages, has room for the future. The vignettes have an old-fashioned quality, and even the way Annie lives seems of the past, when whole families gathered for Sunday suppers and an aunt lived across the street. Annie's voice is sometimes jarringly adult but, all in all, the story rings true. GrandPr 's signature pastel illustrations reveal family stories in warm sepia tones and Annie and her contemporaries in full color. An especially appealing page shows Uncle Charlie reaching out of a black-and-white photo to give Annie one of his famous pinches; here, part of his face is in color, as are an arm and a hand. Warm and nostalgic, this story might inspire oral-history research among young readers.-Jeanne Clancy Watkins, Chester County Library, Exton, PA Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information.
Kirkus Reviews
A child catches glimpses of her family's past in what they've left behind in this richly sentimental portrait gallery. After rummaging through "shoe boxes, dusty albums, old straw baskets, and the backs of drawers" one rainy afternoon, Annie sits with her grandma and great aunt to hear the stories behind what she's found: old stamps and letters; pictures of men, women, and babies in antique dress; the hair ribbon Aunt Claire wore as she cooked up homemade face cream and lipstick to sell; Great-Grandma Sophie's wedding veil; photos of soldiers, some of whom never came back. As Annie assembles the memorabilia into an album, adding explanatory one-liners like "Harry's dark eyes broke women's hearts," or "Stella's holiday dinners kept the family together," GrandPré moves the point of view closer and closer in her creamy, luminous pastels, until the people begin to lean out past the edges of their snapshots, coming to life in Annie's mind. In its diversity—one ancestor came from Sweden, at least one other could be African-American, and Grandma makes a reference to the Kaddish at the end—Annie's family can stand for anyone's. The strength of Annie's urge to create connections with previous generations may kindle a similar interest in young readers—outweighing poor design that has allowed text on some pages to vanish into the gutter. (Picture book. 7-9)

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9781589804913
Publisher:
Pelican Publishing Company, Incorporated
Publication date:
08/14/2007
Pages:
32
Sales rank:
1,314,631
Product dimensions:
8.50(w) x 11.00(h) x 0.40(d)
Age Range:
5 - 8 Years

Meet the Author

Deborah Blumenthal is an award-winning journalist and the author of two BookSense 76 winners, including Aunt Claire's Yellow Beehive Hair. She worked as a home design columnist for New York's Newsday, and her stories have appeared in national magazines such as The Washington Post, Family Circle, and Cosmopolitan. A native New Yorker, Blumenthal now lives in Houston, Texas, and works as a full-time writer.

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Aunt Claire's Yellow Beehive Hair 4.2 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 5 reviews.
Guest More than 1 year ago
my daughter checked this out from the library and so i thought i would read it and was completely suprised at how good the book is and its message. my husband noticed it is the same ill. that did the harry potter books
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