Lynne Rae Perkins, author and illustrator
Greenwillow Books, 2007, Fiction
Suitable for: Grade 2-5
Themes: Vacation, Photography, Family Reunion, Memories, Souvenirs
Opening/Synopsis: “Just before we got in the car to go on our vacation, our mother said, ‘Oh, I almost forgot!’ From her bag she pulled out a little camera for me, and one for my brother. Our mom gave us notebooks to stick them in. ‘They will be souvenirs of our vacation,’ she said.” The family is traveling by car to visit the farm where their grandparents are spending the summer. The brother and sister chronicle their trip. The trip starts out rather boring, a long drive, snapshots of feet, the back of Dad’s head, a hill and a lot of rain. When they arrive, their grandparents are waiting to greet them. They soon learn there will be a memorial service for their great-aunt. Other cars arrive filled with family members. There are a lot of cousins to play with, trees to climb, and games to play.
Why I like this book: It is a great idea to let kids chronicle their trip with pictures. The trip is a more realistic portrayal of real vacations, boredom, disappointment, fun and family love. But the brother and sister discover the best memories are the ones they make with family and hold in their minds. Lynne Rae Perkins has written and illustrated an engaging story for children with a unique message. The illustrations are in bright water colors. She won a Newbery Medal for her book Criss Cross. Resources: Give your kids cameras, a notebook, pens and crayons and encourage them to make a vacation book, or a book about their summer. Great exercise in taking pictures and writing a summer story.