CM . . .
. Volume XXI Number . . . .June 19, 2015
And so begins a child’s exploration of his family tree. The concept of how a family came to be and one’s ancestry is explained in a simple, but delightful way, covering four generations, from this boy’s great, great grandparents to his parents. It is uniquely told from his perspective, and he includes both sides of the family, with the front of the book devoted to his father’s side and the back of the book covering his mother’s side. They meet in the middle for a charming double page spread to reveal the entire current family, each one identified as to their relationship to the narrator, in a most celebratory way. Even the family animals, toys and a neighbour get in the grand picture.
The fact that both sides are simply introduced in the most endearing way adds to the appeal of the book. The lineage is shown as a photo album. With each succeeding generation, there is another photo included, with a picture of the previous generation hanging on the wall. Some family resemblances, despite the years, are quite obvious and add to the appeal of the book. The illustrations highlight not only different historical eras but also the ethnic diversity and background of this family tree. These pictures may be simply drawn in watercolours, but they are infused with character and genuine personality.
What a wonderful way to have a discussion with a child about his roots! Children have a natural curiosity as to how they are connected to others in the family, and this could spark a sharing of one’s background and fostering a sense of pride in how our families make each one of us special.
Reesa Cohen is a retired Instructor of Children’s Literature and Information Literacy at the Faculty of Education, University of Manitoba in Winnipeg, MB.
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