Literary Quote of the Month

“For poems are not, as people think, simply emotions (one has emotions early enough)—they are experiences,” … Rilke, The Notebooks of Malte Laurids Brigge.

Thursday, February 5, 2015

My Family Tree and Me by Dušan Petričić… A Review

One of my other hobbies besides "books" is genealogy. I've been researching my family genealogy off and on for 20 plus years. My very first questions about my extended family were when I was about 12 years old. I have a piece of notebook paper with my grandparents names and their brothers and sisters and their children, all the way down to my parents. I put that aside for a long time and then got "the bug" again. What I wish I had done was NOT put aside my curiosity at that time, when all my relatives were alive and sharing the family stories. And so, I can appreciate this sweet book, My Family Tree and Me by Dušan Petričić which is being published by Kids Can Press this coming April 2015.

It's a beautiful and simple children's picture book that shows how a small boy came to be, starting with his great great grandparents. The front of the book is the boys' father's family, where you'll leaf through the pages of first the great great grandparents, accompanied by a beautiful color illustration of them and a small bit of prose, then the great grandparents with another beautiful drawing and description, then his grandparents, then his "uncle, aunt and dad", and finally his uncle, aunt and dad with their spouses including his mom and dad, all beautifully drawn out with a description of who they are. Flip the book over and you find the boy's mother's family, starting with his great great grandparents on his mothers' side and working down to his mother and her siblings, and their spouses and parents. In the center of the book is the WHOLE family! All the aunt's & uncles, grandparents on both sides, cousins, Mom & Dad and of course the little boy.

What did I think? I thought the illustrations were beautiful and the simple prose that went with it perfect...
                                                             "Thanks to them,
                                                               a long, long time ago
                                                               there lived my
                                                               great-grandfather,
                                                               who met and married my 
                                                               great-grandmother." 

What a great starting point to begin talking to your child about his or her family history! I like the idea of the flip book, with one side of the family at the front of the book and flipping the book over for the other side of the family. I love the idea of the whole family, both sides of the family in a beautiful illustration in the center of the book.

Just a little aside… The publisher provided an eGalley of the book for me to review. I wish I had a physical copy of the book to review because I think it would work so much better than the eBook. In the eBook as you start at the front of the book, when you get to the end of the boys' father's family and want to flip to the back of the book, you have to leave the book and go to the table of contents to start with the back of the book OR you have to quickly flip through the whole book to get to the back and then slowly start backwards. I found this a bit awkward. Can they fix this somehow in the final eBook? I'm not sure. So, I would buy the physical book instead of the eBook.

My Family Tree and Me is written for 3 - 7 year olds, 24 pages and is written and illustrated by Dušan Petričić, who is an awarding winning illustrator. I would give it 5 family tree leaves as a great book for that beginning genealogist child in your family! (3 leaves for the eBook).

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