We Had a Picnic This Sunday Past


Through Teeka's eyes, readers will discover the humor, love, and, of course, the wonderful food that make up the quintessential family picnic.

A young girl describes her various relatives and the foods they bring to the annual family picnic.

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Through Teeka's eyes, readers will discover the humor, love, and, of course, the wonderful food that make up the quintessential family picnic.

A young girl describes her various relatives and the foods they bring to the annual family picnic.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
Novelist Woodson (I Hadn't Meant to Tell You This) turns to a tale for the younger set with this bouncy story about an annual family picnic. Teeka, the young narrator, accompanies her grandma to the park with a basket of fried chicken and biscuits. Soon her best friend Paulette and various family members arrive, bearing bowls and bags of home-cooked food and desserts. Each is introduced through Teeka's eyes: Reverend Luke, who wields a Bible, "can eat like the devil--strange, since he's such a holy man" and "Moon Pie is really Joseph, but don't he look just like a Moon Pie?--came empty-handed, too." But where is Cousin Martha and her infamous, dried-out apple pie? Everyone chows down, and when Martha finally does show up--with a store-bought cake ("No time to bake")--Grandma greets her with a little white lie: "Oh, but Cousin Martha, all year long, I've been thinking about your pie." The snippets of dialogue help keep this story lively, but it's Greenseid's (When Aunt Lena Did the Rhumba) effervescent illustrations, done in candy-bright acrylics, that inject the pizzazz. One hilarious spread shows Auntie Sadie's shocked face when she finds her corn cobs covered with flies (plastic flies, contributed by naughty Cousin Terrance, whom readers see fleeing his parents in the background). In another, roly-poly Moon Pie literally spills across the spread. Readers will enjoy the gentle fun poked at family gatherings here. Ages 4-8. (June)
School Library Journal
PreS-Gr 3Readers join Teeka's sprawling urban African-American family for their annual picnic in the park and experience an event so joyous and loving that they'll feel they were there. Electrified, rhythmic language catches one's attention from the first phrase: "Grandma wore her blue dress with all those flowers on it. Brought biscuits and chicken and me." One by one, readers meet the folks who gather and are captured by Teeka's sharp eye and tongue: "Uncle Luther set a loaf of cinnamon bread in the center of things. Grandma, smiling, just as proud, said `Can't my boy bake himself some bread!'" The observations are loosely bound together by the family's collective suspense about whether Aunt Martha will arrive with her traditionally dried-out apple piesand by all the other food that arrives at the party. Every vividly hued page reveals a new family member and some small, familiar interaction. The acrylic illustrations on double-page spreads are so energetic that they nearly leap off the pages. Faces reveal warmth and humor. The text, in felt-tip pen and backed by a contrasting border, adds to the casual, open feel of the book. This title will be a great companion to Cynthia Rylant's The Relatives Came S & S, 1985. This picnic is a grand event for group read-alouds and competent independent readers.Carolyn Noah, Central Mass. Regional Library System, Worcester, MA
Kirkus Reviews
The teaming of Woodson and Greenseid is a marriage made in heaven: vivacious, finger-snapping prose and electric paintings full of attitude. The scene is an urban park where a family picnic is gathering speed. A grandmother and the young narrator arrive with fried chicken, biscuits, and quick, stunning comments on each and every family member as they appear, sometimes as asides and sometimes with hoots and sass. Every contribution to the picnic table is judged, and the folks who come empty-handed are in for a good ribbing: "Nobody can eat that smile you brought for the cameras, Moon Pie." Bible-thumpers show up, as do cousins mean, sweet, and shifty. Grandma's paramour appears, and everyone awaits Cousin Martha's arrival, with her dreaded dry apple pieþ"You better eat every bite of it so you don't hurt Martha's feelings." For that sentiment is the heart of this book: Despite the teasing and joking, the gathering of the grand African-American extended family brims with love and acceptance. When they sit down at a table of plentyþwith two luxurious store-bought cakes as Cousin Martha's contributionþand the narrator says, "You should have been there," readers will have to agree. (Picture book. 4-8)
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780786821921
  • Publisher: Disney-Hyperion
  • Publication date: 6/28/1998
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 32
  • Age range: 6 - 8 Years
  • Product dimensions: 9.00 (w) x 11.25 (h) x 0.37 (d)

Meet the Author

Ann M. Martin is the author of many books for young readers, including A Corner of the Universe, Belle Teale, and Leo the Magnificat. She is also the co-author, with Paula Danziger, of P.S. Longer Letter Later and Snail Mail No More. Ms. Martin funds such charities as The Lisa Libraries and The Ann M. Martin Foundation. She makes her home in upstate New York.

Laura Godwin, also known as Nola Buck, is the author of many popular picture books for children, including What the Baby Hears, Central Park Serenade, Barnyard Prayers, The Flower Girl, Little White Dog and Christmas in the Manger. Born and raised in Alberta, Canada, she now lives in New York City.

Brian Selznick is the author and illustrator of the New York Times best-selling The Invention of Hugo Cabret, winner of the 2008 Caldecott Medal and a National Book nominee. He has also illustrated many other books for children, including Frindle by Andrew Clements, Amelia and Eleanor Go for a Ride by Pam Muoz Ryan, and The Dinosaurs of Waterhouse Hawkins by Barbara Kerley, which received a 2001 Caldecott Honor. Brian lives in Brooklyn, New York, and San Diego, California.

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