The Great Big Book of Families by Mary Hoffman and Ros Asquith
|The Great Big Book of Families by Mary Hoffman and Ros Asquith|
|Category: For Sharing|
|Reviewer: Zoe Morris|
|Summary: Highlighting and celebrating diversity in a fun, easy way this book is great for starting discussions|
|Buy? Yes||Borrow? Yes|
|Pages: 40||Date: March 2015|
|Publisher: Frances Lincoln Children's Books|
Dolce and Gabbana would not like this book, that much I’m sure of. I think it’s ace, though.
Families are no longer 2.4 children with a mummy and a daddy. To be fair, that wasn’t even the case 30 years ago when I was a toddler, but most books at the time hadn’t clocked the change yet so in literature at least that’s what a family was. Not any more. This book, not the first of its kind, I’m sure, but a very welcome addition to the market, highlights and celebrates the diversity of family life in Britain today.
First up we have the basic family, meaning adult or adults and child or children, in all the combinations you can think of and some that probably would probably never cross your mind, like a loving Chinese couple adopting a white baby and a black baby. We have colour and we have sexuality but no one really cares because everyone is simply happy and loved.
Moving on we have the rest of the brood, so brother and sisters and uncles and aunties but up next is when it starts to get interesting as we look at where and how people live. I had a lovely book about this in the 80s but if focussed on different countries and cultures, so it’s really nice to see this book look at life closer to home, showing how some people live in big houses and some live in smaller flats, and sometimes a small family can have a really big home but a larger one might have to make do with more cramped living conditions. For kids, like me, who assumed you always had as many bedrooms as people, this can be an eye opener and lead to all sorts of interesting reading-together discussions about why some people have 6 or 8 kids but have a much smaller home than that nice only child family up the road.
The book goes on and the topics grow but the message is always the same – that people are not. There is difference, and lots of it, from schools to jobs to holidays to whether your clothes come from charity shops or, yes, Dolce and Gabbana.
This book had a familiar feel to it, because it’s illustrated by Ros Asquith who I used to read as a teenager. It also has a touch of Allan Ahlberg to it, reminding me of an older version of The Baby Catalogue. The illustrations are fab, so colourful and with minute attention to detail. It’s super politically correct, too, so in the family where one parent works and one stays at home, mum is going off to her important job, dad is staying home…oh, and they’re black too. We have school kids in uniform and school kids in their own clothes, and even kids who are home schooled. There are kids in wheelchairs or with walking aids, boys who wear dresses, on and on the list goes.
This is a great book to get the whole family talking and thinking about diversity. It’s fun (there’s even a spot-the-cat-on-every-page game), it’s educational, and most of all it’s real. Perfect for school or home, it’s a lovely book full of children who are modern day children, none of whom at the least beat synthetic.
Thanks go to the publishers for supplying this book.
You can read more book reviews or buy The Great Big Book of Families by Mary Hoffman and Ros Asquith at Amazon.co.uk Amazon currently charges £2.99 for standard delivery for orders under £20, over which delivery is free.
You can read more book reviews or buy The Great Big Book of Families by Mary Hoffman and Ros Asquith at Amazon.com.
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