Pictures from Our Vacation

Overview

Snap!

With their new cameras

Snap!

a brother and sister

Snap!

...

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Overview

Snap!

With their new cameras

Snap!

a brother and sister

Snap!

take pictures of their vacation.

But when they look at their photographs they see:

1. The back of Dad's head
2. Feet
3. A container of noodles

That's it?

Does 1 + 2 + 3 = summer vacation?

What about how it felt to swim in the lake? What about the stories their cousins told and the taste of a just-invented strawberry and whipped cream dessert?

For those memories—the memories of summer and the memories of family that mean the most—they need to look someplace else. Someplace deep inside. Someplace permanent.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly

Newbery Medalist Perkins's (Criss Cross) latest picture book centers on a child's summer visit to her grandparents' farm, though drolly humorous moments throughout will ring familiar to anyone who has embarked on a family vacation. As they set out, the narrator's mother gives her and her brother instant cameras and notebooks to hold the photos they take. The sights from the car are hardly scintillating ("Once in a while there was a bridge or some cows"), but the narrator busies herself imagining an elaborate motel she'd like to own someday. Arriving at the farm, "Our dad saw happy memories everywhere he looked. All we could see was old furniture and dust." A game of badminton with warped racquets is interrupted by rain that lingers for days. When at last the sun shines, the family, after one thwarted attempt, finally finds a place to swim-and then a storm strikes. Though Perkins seems to be setting readers up for a dramatic about-face in the narrator's attitude, the gaggle of extended family that descends for a relative's memorial service may strike some as too little too late. But for the narrator, this interlude is sufficiently rewarding that she doesn't feel the need to snap photos ("it's hard to take a picture of a story someone tells, or what it feels like when you're rolling down a hill or falling asleep in a house full of cousins and uncles and aunts"). In the warmhearted conclusion to this homespun tale, which Perkins has illustrated with brightly hued, detailed pen and ink and watercolor pictures, she wisely observes, "those kinds of pictures I can keep in my mind." Ages 5-8. (May)

Copyright 2007 Reed Business Information
School Library Journal

Gr 2-5
This deceptively simple, thoroughly engaging story is a child's account of her family's cross-country road trip (complete with hand-drawn maps) to visit the old homestead. Before they embark, Mom gives her two children instant cameras and notebooks to document their travels. But the kids quickly discover that what they record on film has little in common with what they actually experience. The snapshot of the back of Dad's head as he drives, for instance, fails in every way to capture the way it felt to be in the car with him at that moment. Photos of grass, a mountain, the sky, or cropped feet in no way reflect the endless days of rain, the secret swimming spot, or activities in the lake. The youngsters also find that on the very best days-when the large extended family gathers at the farm-they are just too busy to take any pictures. Perkins's colorful, line-intensive illustrations incorporate a lot of detailed thought bubbles and plenty of peeks inside the narrator's notebook. Vibrant watercolor renderings include the lush scenery from a variety of perspectives, the characters and their activities, their vivid imaginings, and the kids' captioned "photos." The whole is infused with wonderfully understated accidental, but child-centered humor. A journey into family dynamics, shared experience, and memory that is well worth the trip.
—Catherine ThreadgillCopyright 2006 Reed Business Information.

Kirkus Reviews
Newbery-winner Perkins again displays her talent for picking out the telling details in ordinary activities-taking a young narrator and her family on a two-day drive to a now-unused farm for a rain-swept vacation capped by a general gathering of uncles, aunts and cousins. Though the child and her brother both try to record their experiences with disposable cameras, their snapshots capture far less than the thought balloons in which many of the low-key painted illustrations are framed. Perkins evokes both past and present by placing ghostly or fanciful memory images into placid scenes of passing roadside sights, local outings, rainy day living-room activities and views of people alone or chatting amiably in groups. "It's hard to take a picture of a story someone tells, or what it feels like when you're rolling down a hill," the young narrator concludes. "But those kinds of pictures I can keep in my mind." An outstanding choice for pre-vacation reading or for ruminative children at any time. (Picture book. 6-8)
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780060850975
  • Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers
  • Publication date: 4/24/2007
  • Pages: 32
  • Sales rank: 315,890
  • Age range: 5 - 8 Years
  • Product dimensions: 9.00 (w) x 11.00 (h) x 0.25 (d)

Meet the Author

Lynne Rae Perkins was awarded the Newbery Medal for Criss Cross. She is also the author of the novel All Alone in the Universe, the award-winning companion to Criss Cross. An artist as well as a writer, Lynne Rae Perkins has published several acclaimed picture books, including The Broken Cat, Snow Music, Pictures from Our Vacation, and The Cardboard Piano. The author lives with her family in northern Michigan.

Lynne Rae Perkins was awarded the Newbery Medal for Criss Cross. She is also the author of the novel All Alone in the Universe, the award-winning companion to Criss Cross. An artist as well as a writer, Lynne Rae Perkins has published several acclaimed picture books, including The Broken Cat, Snow Music, Pictures from Our Vacation, and The Cardboard Piano. The author lives with her family in northern Michigan.

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