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The Frazzle Family Finds a Way
     

The Frazzle Family Finds a Way

by Ann Bonwill, Stephen Gammell (Illustrator)
 

Every member of the Frazzle family is disastrously forgetful. Mr. Frazzle forgets his trousers, Wags the dog can't find bone, and Annie and Ben bring fishing poles and towels to school instead of their homework. Not even Aunt Rosemary with her organizational tips can help. But one day Annie has an idea that combines rhyme, recall, and song into a melodic way to

Overview

Every member of the Frazzle family is disastrously forgetful. Mr. Frazzle forgets his trousers, Wags the dog can't find bone, and Annie and Ben bring fishing poles and towels to school instead of their homework. Not even Aunt Rosemary with her organizational tips can help. But one day Annie has an idea that combines rhyme, recall, and song into a melodic way to remember in this warmhearted tribute to compensating for weaknesses.

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
“The Frazzles were forgetful,” writes Bonwill (I Don’t Want to Be a Pea!). “They forgot their umbrellas when it rained.” Caldecott Medalist Gammell paints the raindrops as gorgeous splatters of grey-blue watercolor paint that speak volumes about the family’s soggy sad-sackness. Enter Aunt Rosemary, a disheveled ball of fire, whose solution is “making notes and calendars and schedules and lists until it seemed that the whole house was covered in paper.” It’s little Annie Frazzle who hits on the true solution: mnemonics as song: “Apples, lettuce, bread, and beets,/ Chicken, carrots, chocolate treats,” sings Annie on a shopping trip. “Milk and cheese and one thing more,/ Don’t leave Grandpa at the store!” Everyone knows or belongs to a family that has at least a little Frazzle forgetfulness in its DNA, but the story’s emphasis feels out of whack, with too much time given to the setup and to blowhard Aunt Rosemary, and not enough to the family’s goofily logical, cobbled-together song-making (which Bonwill nails). Even Gammell’s pictures—with their freewheeling immediacy and radiant, unpredictable palette—can’t quite set the narrative aright. Ages 4–8. (Mar.)
Children's Literature - Ken Marantz and Sylvia Marantz
The Frazzle family is always forgetting things, from umbrellas when it rains to coats when it snows. Mr. Frazzle forgets his pants when he goes to work; Wags the dog forgets where he buried his bone; they even forget Grandpa in the grocery store. Aunt Rosemary arrives to help, with her system of lists and schedules, but they forget to use them. Finally young Annie gets an idea: she will sing a song to help remember. And it works at the grocery store. They find that singing is what helps them remember what they need to, even Aunt Rosemary's birthday. Gammell gives us a cast of appealing humorous characters and dresses them in casual clothing amid areas of color. The few lines of text reinforce the narrative thrust of the pictures. Colored pencils and pastels produce some details in the watercolors that create his comic world. Reviewer: Ken Marantz and Sylvia Marantz
School Library Journal
PreS-Gr 1—The members of the Frazzle family certainly live up to their name: they are an utter mess. In winter they forget their coats, in summer they forget their sunscreen, on trips to the grocery store they forget everything except eggs and leave poor Grandpa in the frozen-foods aisle. The happy-go-lucky parents go to work with uncombed hair while the daydreaming kids take fishing rods and flippers to school instead of backpacks. When Aunt Rosemary comes to stay, she makes it her mission to organize this disheveled and forgetful lot. While her lists, schedules, and strings prove useless, she unknowingly inspires young Annie Frazzle to compose songs that help the others remember important things. This silly family story packs a lot of child appeal. Goofy moments, as when Mr. Frazzle forgets his trousers one morning, will have young listeners in giggles. The true strength is in Gammell's signature artwork; a gorgeous mess of rainbow-colored splotches and splatters depict a sudden rainstorm, a muddy yard, and delicate bubbles while erratic lines suggest constant movement as the characters teeter on ledges and jitter across spreads. Even after the Frazzles reform their neurotic ways and find a way to remember things like Grandpa and grocery lists, a final page shows that they retain their essential, and rather charming, flakiness. Messy fun.—Kiera Parrott, Darien Library, CT
Kirkus Reviews
A family with severe short-term memory issues discovers a coping strategy at last in this mildly farcical outing. Given their tendency to leave home sans trousers or umbrellas, to forget the grocery list--even, in the dog's case, to forget where the bones are buried--the Frazzles invite Aunt Rosemary in to organize their lives. Unfortunately, even Rosemary's blizzard of notes, schedules and strings on fingers fails to work. Her bathtub caterwauling, however, inspires young Annie Frazzle to turn to-do lists into jingles: "Apples, lettuce, bread, and beets, / Chicken, carrots, chocolate treats, / Milk and cheese and one thing more, / Don't leave Grandpa at the store!" Problem solved. Gammell's illustrations add a typical air of barely controlled chaos. Disheveled figures sporting confused expressions beneath mops of flyaway hair float through paint-splashed scenes of riotous domestic clutter. Crisis management for sure, but resolutely low key and capped by the arrival of a luscious (if, Gammell-style, decrepit) birthday cake. (Picture book. 5-7)

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780823424054
Publisher:
Holiday House, Inc.
Publication date:
03/01/2013
Pages:
32
Product dimensions:
9.30(w) x 10.00(h) x 0.50(d)
Lexile:
AD630L (what's this?)
Age Range:
4 - 7 Years

Meet the Author

ANN BONWILL is the author of Bug and Bear, Naughty Toes, Pocket's Christmas Wish, and I Don't Want to Be a Pea. She lives in Virginia with her husband, their young son, and a crazy Welsh corgi dog named Arthur.

Stephen Gammell's awards include a Caldecott Medal, a Caldecott Honor, a New York Times Best Illustrated Children's Book Award, and a Boston Globe-Horn Book Award. He lives in Minnesota.

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