Saturday, January 15, 2005

Bubba and Beau Meet the Relatives

Appelt, Kathi. 2004. BUBBA AND BEAU MEET THE RELATIVES. Ill. By Arthur Howard. New York: Harcourt. ISBN 0152166300 [Suggested Grade Levels PreK-1]

In Bubba and Beau’s third adventure, the baby and the dog (respectively) are on the sidelines for the cleaning, cooking and preparation as the relatives spring a visit on Big Bubba and Mama Pearl. Appelt’s writing deftly deals out Southern-isms with homespun flare (“Sister, that mud hole was better than pickled eggs”) and Arthur Howard’s ink and watercolor illustrations reflect the unpretentious warmth of a rural family gathering. Of course, the babies and dogs (including Cousin Arlene and her dog Bitsy) find their greatest joy in a nearby mud hole, but the family takes it in stride in true laid-back country fashion. Fairly unique here are also the book’s chapter divisions. Though a rare addition for what is essentially a picture book, they give the story a slightly more episodic sense of pacing than is usually found in this format. Howard’s matter-of fact art style lends an approachable feel to the book that reinforces its farm-raised roots. This book is written with a front porch sensibility and a casual ease that makes the characters and their environment comfortably accessible. From pickup trucks and cowboy hats to bouffant hair and boot-kickin’ Bodacious Banana Buttermilk Pie, BUBBA AND BEAU MEET THE RELATIVES is a friendly slice of country life that is sure to please.

This is a great book to use in preparation for relatives coming over as a simple read a loud and to show how much fun relatives can be. A child could be lead to talk about their relatives or to write them a letter and send pictures.

The mud factor can also come into play. Mud can be made with playdough and food coloring, and a mud family can be easily shaped by children’s fingers. Or real mud in the activity of planting can be discussed. Play in a sand box would also be fun after reading this book.

Other books by Kathi Appelt that could be compared to this one:

By Melissa Neece

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