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WHAT A FAMILY! by Rachel Isadora


A Fresh Look at Family Trees

by Rachel Isadora & illustrated by Rachel Isadora

Pub Date: March 1st, 2006
ISBN: 0-399-24254-6
Publisher: Putnam

Poorly designed for library use but likely to keep detail-oriented children engrossed, this introduction to genetics and genealogy identifies physical characteristics shared among a multicultural gaggle of nearly three dozen cousins. It starts out simply, with little Ollie learning from his Grandpa Max that he looks just like Max’s brother Winthrop at the same age, back in 1924. But in no time, each turn of the page brings something like: “Lili and George’s twin second cousins once removed, Kyla and Katie, have red hair, while their half-sisters, Talisha and Zinzi, have black hair like their father, Henry.” Unfortunately, Isadora leaves all of the terms except “removed” undefined, and has laid out the family tree, from which readers can make sense of these relationships only on the endpapers—much of which will be covered if the flaps are glued down. Rendered in crayon and colored pencil, the accompanying rows and rows of smiling faces, mostly those of children, not only create a bright, happy mood, but are drawn with care, so that the similarities of hair, eyes, noses, body type and other inherited features are easy to spot. But young readers with an interest in the subject are likely to get more from Loreen Leedy’s Who’s Who in My Family? (1995). (Picture book. 6-8)