The Graves Family

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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 ...

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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?

When the spooky Graves family moves to town and tries to fit in with the "normal" residents of Union City, everyone is in for a few surprises.

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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)
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780399240348
  • Publisher: Penguin Group (USA) Incorporated
  • Publication date: 8/25/2003
  • Pages: 48
  • Age range: 5 - 10 Years
  • Lexile: 720L (what's this?)
  • Product dimensions: 8.92 (w) x 11.38 (h) x 0.46 (d)

Meet the Author

Patricia Polacco
Patricia Polacco
Patricia Polacco lives in Union City, Michigan.
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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 3.5
( 4 )
Rating Distribution

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(1)

4 Star

(2)

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1 Star

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Sort by: Showing all of 4 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted May 22, 2007

    A BOOK OF ACCEPTANCE

    THIS BOOK ROCKS!!!! This book is not like most of Patricia Polacco¡¦s books. It has humor and weird things happen on every page. Even though there are lots of bugs 'and I hate, absolutely hate, bugs' I still liked it. You should read this book if you like gross, scary, and humorous things. It¡¦s mainly about a family who does not fit in at first, but in the end fit in fine. I really, really enjoyed this book, and I think you will too. This book has the message of acceptance.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 27, 2007

    A recommended book

    This is an awesome book! It¿s about family that moves to a new town and doesn¿t fit in at first but does in the end. It¿s both scary and funny. It may seem gross but it¿s not. One of the characters ¿The bride of Frankenstein¿ hair! The father in the family produces a growth serum for hair and it makes all the people who use it act like house cats! If you want a Patricia Polacco book get this one. If you want any kind of book get this one.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 9, 2006

    Another great book!

    We did an author study about Patricia Polacco for a graduate children's literature class. I chose this book because it seemed much different from Ms. Polacco's usual style. It was really good and had a great message as does most of her books. Athough the story is about the Graves moving into a new neighborhood and the Annual Fall House Contest, the overall message is one of acceptance.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 2, 2006

    This book stinks!

    This is a very scary book. If you like happy endings don't read this book. I did not like this book because it is boring and not exciting. It was gross! The characters were gross. They had spiders all over their house. They liked it! this book was the author trying to show off the worst book in the world! You shoud not read book because all it talks about is a boring & gross family. DO NOT READ THIS BOOK PLEASE!

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