Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Travels with my family by Marie-Louise Gay and David Homel

In my quest for more beginning chapter books, I came upon a review of the latest installment in Gay & Homel's humorous family/travel series. I was intrigued by the description and decided to try out the first volume. It turned out not to be a beginning chapter book - but it sure was a lot of fun to read!

Some parents take their kids to ordinary, fun places like Disneyland. Not these parents! Looking for special, off-the-beaten track destinations they traipse across America, accompanied by the unnamed narrator and his younger brother. From hurricanes on the east coast to a terrifying adventure in the Okefenokee swamp to desert tornadoes and Mexican revolutions, there's never a dull moment on these vacations!

Despite the wild adventures, the tone of the book is oddly peaceful. The narrator's resigned acceptance of his parents' eccentricities gives the stories a tongue-in-cheek, ironic sense of humor. Only the mother occasionally gets a little worried by some of the more dangerous incidents and it's she who decides when an adventure has gone far enough and it's time to try something else or return home. Black and white sketches illustrate the kids' reactions and some of the places and events they experience.

Verdict: Not every kid will pick up on the humor in these stories and although the book is fairly short (119 pgs) the text is too dense for a beginning chapter book, although the cover and illustrations seem aimed at that younger reading group. However, if you have a younger child who's a strong reader or kids who appreciate ironic humor, this will be a good choice. Otherwise, it would make a great family read-aloud!

ISBN: 9780888996886; Published February 2006 by Groundwood Books; Borrowed from the library

No comments: