K-Gr 3-When a teacher asks her students to tell about their families, each child speaks of a different configuration. There are big, small, and extended families. Children live with a mom and dad, grandparents, two same-gender parents, or stepparents. The youngsters mention adoption, divorce, and death of a parent and pets. Then, they discuss the good and bad times that families have together. The tone throughout is upbeat and positive. The bright watercolor illustrations depict smiling, multicultural people living in immaculate middle-class surroundings. This is a good book for introducing nontraditional families to children, but some readers might find the sunny cheerfulness unrealistic. Ann Morris's Families (HarperCollins, 2000) represents a variety of family situations with color photographs of multicultural families and a simple text, but does not include same-gender parents.-Donna Cardon, Provo City Library, UT Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information.
In a diversity lesson covered by the thinnest veneer of plot, children in a classroom pipe up to describe their families: large, small, nuclear, and extended; interracial, international, single-parent, divorced parents, same-sex parents; comprised of multiple generations, adoptees, absent members, and even pets. The teacher goes on to lead a quick discussion about "unhappy things that happen in families," then closes on positive notes, and the conclusion that "No families are the same. All families are definitely special!" Flavin's smiling, multicultural cast reinforces the message of this bluntly purposeful tale designed to spark family or class interchanges while validating a wide variety of family arrangements. (Picture book. 6-8)
"This is a good book for introducing nontraditional families to children."
School Library Journal