The Graves Family by Patricia Polacco, Hardcover | Barnes & Noble
The Graves Family

The Graves Family

3.8 5
by Patricia Polacco, George A. Plimpton
     
 

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The Graves family has just moved to Union City, and they definitely don't fit in. With giant spiders in the living room, a voracious Venus flytrap named Phoebe in the kitchen, and a secret laboratory in the basement, the neighbors are afraid to visit! Except for Seth and Sara Miller, the kids next door, who decide to help them make friends. Maybe if Mr. Graves

Overview

The Graves family has just moved to Union City, and they definitely don't fit in. With giant spiders in the living room, a voracious Venus flytrap named Phoebe in the kitchen, and a secret laboratory in the basement, the neighbors are afraid to visit! Except for Seth and Sara Miller, the kids next door, who decide to help them make friends. Maybe if Mr. Graves gives all the bald men in town his amazing hair-growing tonic, which he developed from the follicles of house cats? It seems like a great idea-until the tonic-dosed town council starts chasing birds and running up trees! And then Phoebe nearly devours the Ladies' Auxiliary Garden Club-will the Graves family ever find a way to fit in?

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
"Polacco mines the theme of children nourished by unexpected friendship, tosses in a little light horror and comes up with over-the-top hilarity," according to PW. Ages 6-up. (Aug.) Copyright 2006 Reed Business Information.
Children's Literature
Doug and Shalleaux Graves arrived in Union City with their five children on a "dark and dreary night." They painted their house blood red and everyone stayed away. Until one day when two neighborhood children, Seth and Sara Miller, went over to meet the new boy. Immediately they realized that the Graves' house was quite different from theirs. They soon learned that the Graves' knew they were different, but hoped they would eventually find a town where they would fit in. Mr. Graves was an inventor who created a potion to cure baldness. It worked for a while, but then disastrous results occurred. They were about to be ostracized when television personality, Christopher Joel, selected their house as the perfect haunted house and featured it in his magazine. Humor intertwines with creepiness, just like Phoebe, Mrs. Graves' Venus Flytrap. entwines herself around objects and people. Polacco sets an eerie stage while presenting a lesson in accepting others who are different. Illustrations show the bizarre (giant-size furry spiders, dinner at the Graves house), the normal (the Miller children) and the humorous (hairdos on the men in town). 2003, Philomel,
— Sharon Salluzzo
School Library Journal
Gr 2-4-When Doug and Shalleaux Graves and their children move to Union City and paint their house blood red, the villagers stay away. Then Seth and Sara, two young neighbors, visit and become friendly with young Hieronymus, and they explore the spooky house. Their mother invites Mrs. Graves to a garden club tea, where her baby Venus flytrap eats the lemon squares, the tea set, and the ladies' hats. After this fiasco, the Graves family's social standing declines further. Then Christopher Joel, a home-decorating guru, comes to town to judge the neighborhood House Show. After spotting the Graves's residence, he declares it the most perfect haunted house, and offers the family a magazine cover story. From that day on, the villagers declare that the Graves and their house "fit in." Polacco's fans may be disappointed in this story. It is lighter and less emotionally resonant than many of her other works, but it has fun and farcical moments, creative puns, and over-the-top descriptions. Unfortunately, the text goes on too long, causing some of the amusing episodes to drag. Polacco's illustrations, in her standard technique of pen-and-ink with watercolor washes, have a comic, cartoon look, also something of a departure from her usual style. While this title demonstrates Polacco's storytelling range, it is not a central title in her canon.-Rachel G. Payne, New York Public Library Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information.
Kirkus Reviews
Polacco sets her wildest romp yet around an actual "haunted house" in her Michigan hometown. The arrival of Doug and Shalleaux Graves, along with their children, brings on one brouhaha after another in staid Union City. Shortly after young neighbors Seth and Sara find their new neighbors' house crawling with giant spiders and scary tropical plants, Mrs. Graves's pet giant Venus flytrap breaks up a Ladies' Garden Club Tea, and then Mr. Graves's seemingly miraculous hair restorer, developed in his own basement lab, makes all of the town's leading citizens behave like cats. Just as an angry mob arrives to give the Graves what-for, so too does TV Decorating Show host Christopher Joel, defusing the situation by rapturously declaring the Graves's home winner of the Fall Home Show. Polacco gives Mrs. Graves Bride-of-Frankenstein hair, and places her customary cast of dismayed grownups and rangy, level-headed children atop backgrounds of writhing tendrils and floods of glop. Despite a rather quick and tidy resolution, this is sure to elicit delighted cries of "Eeeewwww!" from young audiences, at Halloween or any other time. (Picture book. 7-9)

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780399240348
Publisher:
Penguin Publishing Group
Publication date:
08/25/2003
Pages:
48
Product dimensions:
8.92(w) x 11.38(h) x 0.46(d)
Lexile:
720L (what's this?)
Age Range:
5 - 10 Years

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