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The Not-Just-Anybody Family (Blossom Family) Paperback – April 1, 2008

Book 1 of 5 in the Blossom Family Series

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Not-just-any novel, Byars's latest races without pause between hilarious, suspenseful and touching crises. Rogers's drawings are fine but almost unneeded; every scene is vividly described from the moment Maggie and Vern await their little brother Junior's flight from the barn on his handmade wings. Hearing a police car near their isolated rural home, the older children scamper; Junior falls, breaks his leg, and the cops take him to the hospital in town. Here the boy learns that their Grandpa is in jail and that Vern (with Maggie's help) has broken into the man's cell through a high window. The feat makes celebrities of the family and brings the children's widowed mother, a rodeo-circuit rider, home posthaste. Junior's roommate, Ralphie, who tells terrible lies ("the ice cream is doped; I'll eat yours, I'm immune"); Mud, Grandpa's lost dog who defies all obstacles to get to his loved one; and everybody in the Newbery Medalist's new story will capture her readers' hearts. Pity poor grownups who don't have the pleasure of such endearing company.
Copyright 1986 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From School Library Journal

Grade 4- 7 Junior Blossom is poised on the roof of the barn, working up the courage to fly on homemade wings. His brother and sister are on the ground urging him on when Junior spots a police car coming up their road. Maggie and Vern run to hide in the woods, while Junior loses his grip on the roof and slides off, breaking both legs. The children's widowed mother is away working the rodeo circuit; Pap, their grandfather, has been arrested for disturbing the peace while he was, innocently enough, trying to retrieve the 2147 beer and pop cans that had spilled out of the back of his pick-up. Byars' characters are memorableespecially Vern, who manages to "break into" jail to be with Pap, thus causing a news sensation, and Ralphie, Junior's hospital roommate. The plot, however, is contrived in many ways. Readers are never told why police is "one of the most dreaded words in the family vocabulary," and credibility is stretched thin by Vern's jail break-in and by Maggie's and Ralphie's managing to wheel Juniorwith both legs in caststo Pap's hearing without being apprehended by hospital personnel. While this is not Byars' strongest book, the off-beat characters, crisp dialogue and fast-paced action will keep readers turning the pages. Connie C. Rockman, The Ferguson Library, Stamford, Conn.
Copyright 1986 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
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Product Details

  • Age Range: 8 and up
  • Grade Level: 3 and up
  • Series: Blossom Family (Book 1)
  • Paperback: 176 pages
  • Publisher: Holiday House; Reprint edition (April 1, 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0823421457
  • ISBN-13: 978-0823421459
  • Product Dimensions: 8.2 x 5.5 x 0.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 8 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (16 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #791,894 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Betsy Byars is a Newbery Medal winner and a National Book Award winner. Her books have appeared on the best books lists of the American Library Association, School Library Journal, and American Bookseller, among others.

Customer Reviews

4.8 out of 5 stars
5 star
81%
4 star
13%
3 star
6%
2 star
0%
1 star
0%
See all 16 customer reviews
I loved learning about the characters.
Sara
This is a quick book to read especially since the chapters are usually 3-4 pages long making it so easy to say "just one more chapter".
Nicola Mansfield
This was a good read and I would definitely recommend it to my siblings and their friends.
Amazon Customer

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

11 of 12 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on June 10, 2000
Format: Paperback
The Not-Just-Anybody Family is a book my whole classroom enjoyed. It has action, humor, a missing dog, an out-of-town mom, and a grandpa in jail. The children in the book are very real and my students could relate to their feelings and difficulties. The settings change from chapter to chapter and Betsy Byars writes just enough about each situation to keep you wanting more. This book helped my students learn the meaning of "suspense" and almost all of them gave the book a rating of nine or ten on a one to ten scale. I plan on ordering the audio version for some of my students next year.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Ionia Martin TOP 1000 REVIEWER on February 21, 2013
Format: Paperback
This book was fun and even as an adult, I was able to enjoy it. The way this is written reminded me of the children's novels I used to red as a youngster.

The characters are enjoyable and lively and of the variety that make you laugh as you grow to love them. I particularly enjoyed the humor strewn throughout this book. Betsy Byars has a brilliant grasp on how to write a story for her intended age group.

I find it more and more difficult to locate books that are appropriate for younger children while still offering them entertainment and this does just that.

I liked the plot and thought the story progressed at an even pace with excitement thrown in at the perfect times. The conversations between the characters were often funny and had a very nice quality, making me feel like I was amongst them.

If you are looking for a book for your child or grandchild this would be a wonderful choice.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful A Kid's Review on May 10, 2010
Format: Paperback
The Not-Just-Anybody Family was an extraordinary book. I didn't want to put it down, but the teacher said it was time to move on. I liked it a lot because Betsy Byars gives you different points of views of the Blossom family...even the dog's. I also liked it because it had a mixture of humor and sadness. My favorite part was all the different interactions between Ralphie and Junior in the hospital. It made me smile and giggle I would recommend this to anyone who enjoys stories about friends and family.
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on February 5, 1999
Format: Audio Cassette
Go into the world of funny things with Betsy Byars and The NotJust- Anybody Family. It's filled with trouble, mischief, and fun! The trouble begins when Pap goes into town. Somebody falls of the roof, someone goes to jail, someone breaks into jail, and people go to trial. Also, there is a runaway dog. All these funny and exciting things plus a teaspoon of sadness fit into this book. I hope I got your attention! P.S READ THIS BOOK!!!
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By NC on May 21, 2013
Format: Paperback
This book takes off like a rocket and what a ride! Kids that fly and break into jail. A dog on his own and a family reunion. A great group of characters. I can't wait to meet them again. This is fun for all ages!
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on March 10, 1999
Format: Turtleback
When Pap Blossom goes into town that's when it all started. Breaking into jail, jumping off the roof, missing mom and lost dog are some of the interesting things that happen to the Blossom family. If I could I would give it a hundred stars. I think this book is a 4th, 5th, and 6th grade book. Now you know what it is about so go get the book NOW!!
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on January 2, 1999
Format: Paperback
This book was a fantastic read! I really enjoyed the adventures the kids went through to get their Granpa out of jail. I liked how the author wrote each little section from one of the family member's point of view. It was great book for people of all ages.
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Format: Paperback
Reason for Reading: Betsy Byars is one of my absolute favourite MG/YA authors. I've read a lot of her books and have been anxiously awaiting for my ds to be ready for this series in particular, as it is my favourite by her. I read this aloud to him. I've collected the whole set so we will be continuing with it this coming year.

The Blossom Family books are absolutely hilarious! This first book in the series had us laughing out loud from chapter one straight through to the end. DS just loved it and I hand a grand time reading it aloud! The Blossoms, I suppose could be called a dysfunctional family, in the fact that they are not well-off and their family circumstances could be construed as a bit neglectful from today's viewpoint. However, this is a family that loves each other dearly and they make the best with what they have. Junior is a daredevil, coming up with all sorts of ideas while his older brother and sister encourage him. Maggie is the eldest yet smaller than her slighter younger brother Vern, wears his hand-me downs so is always dressed like a boy. They are mostly looked after by their grandfather "Pap" who often leaves them to their own devices and has spent time in jail before. In fact the family procedure when the police come to the house is to run away as fast as you can and hide. The father is dead and the mother is a rodeo star who travels all summer. Not the ideal family situation, but make no mistake about it, there is love aplenty here and one member will stick up for the others come what may.

The crazy antics and hilarious quips begin in chapter one and never let up. This is a quick book to read especially since the chapters are usually 3-4 pages long making it so easy to say "just one more chapter". Along with being funny, there are a few tense moments and others more poignant as we see the Blossoms deal with the ups and downs of their far from easy life. Highly recommended!
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