Cover image for Catherine and Laurence Anholt's big book of families.
Catherine and Laurence Anholt's big book of families.
Anholt, Catherine.
Personal Author:
Uniform Title:
Big book of families
First edition.
Publication Information:
Cambridge, Mass. : Candlewick Press, [1998]

Physical Description:
1 volume (unpaged) : color illustrations ; 30 cm
Poems, letters, and illustrations celebrate the entire family, including grandmothers fathers, sisters, and brothers.
Reading Level:
NP Lexile.
Program Information:
Reading Counts RC K-2 2.9 2 Quiz: 27305 Guided reading level: NR.
Added Author:
Format :


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Item Holds
PIC. BK. Juvenile Fiction Picture Books

On Order



With their trademark boisterous watercolors and romping verse, Catherine and Laurence Anholt present a candid and affectionate celebration of families of all kinds.

Author Notes

Catherine Anholt began as nurse, but decided that she liked art too much not to pursue it. She attended Falmouth School of Art in Cornwall, England, where she met her husband and partner, Laurence Anholt. She earned her Masters Degree at the Royal College of Art in London.

The first books the husband and wife team published were about a small pig called Truffles, in 1983 for their oldest daughter, Claire. Laurence writes all of their books and Catherine has illustrated about half of them. Their work has won many awards, including the Nestlé Smarties Gold Award, the Kids' Club Network Award, the Right Start Toy and Book Award three times, the Oppenheim Toy Portfolio Gold Award twice, the English Association Four to Eleven Awards twice, the US Children's Media Award and the CCBC Choices 2001 twice. They have over 70 children's titles in print.

(Bowker Author Biography)

Reviews 3

Booklist Review

Ages 2^-5. In the Anholts' signature style, with simple chanting verse and lots of small, clear, individual ink-and-watercolor scenarios, this large-size book celebrates families together, all kinds of families, through all their ups and downs. There are families laughing, learning, loving, and sharing, and also families shouting and shoving. There is a big extended family and a family tree, and there is "Just Mom and me, happily," as well as all kinds of moms and dads, sisters and brothers (including the middle sister, who feels "squashed in between"). One page is made up of 30 tiny pictures with one-word rhyming captions, from Wash, Work, and Worry, to Heave, Haul, and Hurry. The final double-page spread shows everyone, in all kinds of vehicles, rushing home. Preschoolers will find themselves in the pictures, and they will enjoy talking about them, naming the feelings and relationships, and acting them out. --Hazel Rochman

Publisher's Weekly Review

This collection of short poems, by turns rollicking and sweet, pays homage to families of various configurations and personalities. The Anholts (Kids; What I Like) capture the many moods and dynamics of families from a child's point of view, via verses grouped in themed spreads with headers such as "Where do families live?" "Brothers and Sisters" and "Noise." Observations on siblings, parents, grandparents and other relatives fly freely here: "Dads have.../ Big hands and baseball caps,/ Ties and tattoos,/ Shoulders to ride on,/ Shoes like canoes"; "My brother and sister are fussy,/ My brother and sister are rude." But as aimless as some of the rhythmic commentary may seem, universal sentiments permeate the energetic verse: no two families are the same, and families are bound by their "sharing, shouting, teasing and hugging" and, ultimately, their love. Cheery watercolor spot art (featuring people of varying races and ages) is woven playfully throughout, adding warmth and heart. Ages 3-7. (Nov.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

School Library Journal Review

PreS-Gr 3-With the spirited verse and lively watercolors that are done in their signature style, the Anholts celebrate many different kinds of families. Children will enjoy the short, snappy tributes to all aspects of home life, as well as savor the more tender reflections on togetherness. The text abounds with alliteration and chantlike refrains. The verses are grouped under various headings such as "Moms and Dads," "Sisters and Brothers," "Noise," and "Holidays." A short reflection on siblings perfectly captures the essence of too much togetherness: "Families are like the weather,/Breezy, sunny, warm./When my two brothers get together/It's like a thunderstorm." A good choice for celebrating the diversity of family life.-Maura Bresnahan, Shawsheen School, Andover, MA (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.