Cover image for Family reunion
Family reunion
Quattlebaum, Mary.
Personal Author:
Publication Information:
Grand Rapids, MI : Eerdmans Books for Young Readers, [2004]

Physical Description:
1 volume (unpaged) : color illustrations ; 26 cm
Fifteen poems tell chronologically of a young girl's experiences at her family's week-long reunion.
Program Information:
Accelerated Reader AR LG 4.0 0.5 79638.
Format :


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Item Holds
PS3567.U282 F36 2004 Juvenile Non-Fiction Open Shelf

On Order



Thoughtful and fun, this book gives glimpses of family togetherness and tradition through various poetic forms, including free verse, a sonnet, haiku, a ballad, and more.

Reviews 3

Booklist Review

Gr. 2-3. A phone call from Nana sets up 10-year-old Jodie's summer vacation, a family reunion in June at Grandma's. What follows are 15 chapters of short poems and evocative pictures that chronicle the special moments: rocking in the nineteenth-century chair on the porch overlooking the ocean; coming into the kitchen where Jodie's extended family sits; a relaxed barbeque where adults talk and stories flow. In the most touching spread, Jodie watches her cousin who has been separated from his father for a long time: He's a voice on the phone now . . . a name on a postcard. Quattlebaum uses various poetic forms (free verse, haiku, etc.), and while the quality of the poetry is uneven, the poems are easy to read and many are heartwarming. Shine's watercolor paintings glide across two pages and have an impressionistic quality that speaks to memories that are being made. Children younger than the target audience may enjoy hearing this read aloud. --Ilene Cooper Copyright 2004 Booklist

Publisher's Weekly Review

Through 15 poems in an array of formats (sonnet, haiku, free verse), Quattlebaum (The Shine Man) chronicles a family gathering at the beach. The speaker, Jodie, is pictured as a child, but her sensibility seems more akin to that of a self-conscious adolescent-she is by turns wistful, melancholic and preoccupied with her dawning ability to ponder life's bigger meanings. Squeezing herself into a porch rocker meant for a much smaller person, Jodie thinks, "This chair has rocked since 1884./ Rocked from child to child,/ through children, grandchildren, more and more./ Two years ago it fit just right./ Rock-rock, rock-rock." She spots cousin Hank sitting on a piece of driftwood in a moment of sad reverie and knowingly observes that the boy's long-absent father is "a voice on the phone now./ He's a voice once a week/ saying, `How's the big guy?' " Shine's (Loon Summer) illustrations, watercolors with paper collage, underscore the poems' oddly muted mood. A delicate luminosity radiates from her spreads, and she capably conveys the ever-changing nature of water and light at the shoreline. But there's a curious emotional stillness to her renderings, even when the family assembles for a gathering as pleasant as a pancake breakfast. Children who have experienced the happy-go-lucky chaos of a real family reunion may wonder where all the action is. All ages. (Feb.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

School Library Journal Review

Gr 2-5-A young girl leaves her urban home and joins her extended family for a week at the seashore. Through 15 poems, readers witness the relatives sharing meals, walking on the beach, watching clouds, and strolling to church on Sunday morning. There is an understated chronology of events, but, like lazy summer days, the poems quietly roll into one another. The rhythms and rhymes in many of the selections lend an easy tone to the text. Quattlebaum also experiments with different poetic forms, and it is in a haiku celebrating lightning bugs and a free verse describing Nana's preparations for church that her writing seems the most natural. Shine's dreamy watercolor and cut-paper collage illustrations perfectly depict the windswept setting and the members of this multicultural family. Gently washed hues portray sunny days on the beach and contemplative times spent beneath an ancient maple. A celebration of families and a seasonal ritual, this book could be used to create a summer display along with similar offerings such as Joyce Carol Thomas's Gingerbread Days (HarperCollins, 1995; o.p.) and Marilyn Singer's Family Reunion (S & S, 1994).-Shawn Brommer, South Central Library System, Madison, WI (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.