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All Kinds of Families! Hardcover – August 1, 2009

4.2 out of 5 stars 25 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From School Library Journal

PreSchool-Grade 3—Hoberman has tackled the elusive question of what makes a family a family in this sometimes silly, sometimes serious book of rhymes. She likens families to numerous items that share a relationship and are inherently the same. Her refrain says it all, "Bottle caps, gingersnaps, buttons, or rings/You can make families from all sorts of things!" Other families include tools, balloons, thimbles, and marbles, but the verses make it clear that human families are much more than a conglomeration of like, easily categorized, things; they share a human history and the promise of many more families to come. No matter what, making a family is about seeing the likenesses, not the differences. Boutavant provides colorful illustrations that vary from page to page, but as a group, complement the rhymes. Pair this with Jusin Richardson and Peter Parnell's And Tango Makes Three (S & S, 2005), Arnold Adoff's Black Is Brown Is Tan (HarperCollins, 2002); Nancy Coffelt's Fred Stays with Me! (Little, Brown, 2007), and Remy Charlip's A Perfect Day (HarperCollins, 2007) to introduce the idea that, indeed, there are all kinds of families.—Joan Kindig, James Madison University, Harrisonburg, VA
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

About the Author

Children's Poet Laureate Mary Ann Hoberman is the author of more than thirty-five books for children, including the critically acclaimed A House Is a House for Me, which won a National Book Award, the New York Times bestselling You Read to Me, I'll Read to You, and the Sing-Along Stories series.

Marc Boutavant has created picture books in English, French, and Japanese. He also does editorial illustration and comics. Mr. Boutavant lives in Paris.
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Product Details

  • Age Range: 4 - 8 years
  • Grade Level: Preschool - 3
  • Hardcover: 40 pages
  • Publisher: Little, Brown Books for Young Readers; 53077th edition (August 1, 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0316146331
  • ISBN-13: 978-0316146333
  • Product Dimensions: 9 x 0.5 x 11.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 15.5 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (25 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #167,474 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover
I don't know what to make of this book. All Kinds of Families has the kind of metaphor-rich lyricism that I love about Hoberman's award-winning A House Is a House for Me, but it some ways it ends up seeming to be more about set theory than about families.

I had this in mind for a child I know who has a rather complicated family situation, even though it's definitely not a book that explicitly states "divorced/blended/lesbian/step/adopted families are families too!" (although that is implied, of course).

The emphasis seems to be two part: (1) You are part of a family and a legacy and a future by dint of your existence, and (2) any conglomeration of items, objects or people can be a family should you choose to make it so. (Hmmm...I wonder if this book would make more sense to children than it would to adults with a didactic agenda in mind?)

The illustrations are interesting, which is not to say that they are either good or bad. They're sort of in that "Japanese kawaii" cutesy style, and they're so tangerine-colored and googly-eyed, if you know what I mean, that they can be a little distracting, but then again, there's a lot of wit to be found in the details, so a deeper look can be worthwhile.

Long story short, I'm glad that I checked this out from the library before buying on the basis of Hoberman's "brand name" alone, and I think I'm going to sit with it, so to speak, for a while before deciding if it's really something worth paying for.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I have a blended family and my oldest son is 6 years old. He and I were alone until I met my husband. He has always considered my husband his father and he is at the age where we need to start talking about the difference between his "daddy" and the person that helped bring him into the world. His biological father disappeared never to be heard from again. Our family counselor suggested I look for books to talk about what makes a real family and my son loved this book. We are taking very slow steps, but this is a wonderful way to start.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I am in love with this book. The words and sentiment are perfect. It really touches my heart everytime I read it with my children. The author Hoberman uses humor in grouping everyday objects into families but also explains to children that they are changing, altering and creating families when they are born and that they may someday create their own family. The sentiment is heartfelt. The artwork is just as beautiful as the words. Marc Boutavant is my new favorite childrens artist. My one and half year old wants to read this book everynight before bed because there is just so much to look at. I will be giving this book as a gift at every baby shower I attend. It is perfect for a new mom and baby!
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Wistful book with beautiful artwork by Marc Boutavant (Mouk cartoon artist). I love how things are put into families (categories). We have a blended family so this will help show how things can look different, but still be a family!
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Format: Hardcover
The title alone makes you think you'll be reading a book about inclusiveness, about people from all walks of life...until you open the book and see that "all kinds of families" are all white. Seriously. Until the very end when there is one bizarre spread with many skin tones in trees to show that somewhere in your family tree, you might have people who don't look like you? Other than that, "all" families are white families.

I have friends who love this book, friends whose kids love this book--I wish I could say the same, and I feel sad for the kids/families who love this book because the book is reinforcing the sad idea that happy, real families all look the same and are all white. Sad and disappointing.

Where were the editor, the art director, and the graphic designer on this??? Why didn't they notice? If they did notice, why didn't they care?????
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
This book is so awesome (as are Mary ann Holberman's other stories). Sweet and subtly educational (though i do recall one rhyming word used twice?) It is about all the different ways you can group things together (animals, stars and moon, saucer and dish, colors etc) Marc Boutavant's illustrations are equally as stylistically adorable.

I think it is important to mention that my only hesitation buying this book online was i was a tiny bit worried it might try to touch on complicated family styles. While i do think there is a great lesson of love for everyone in this, i really hoped it wasn't the agenda of this book. It's not. It talks about human families in a very sensitive and open ended manner, with the general meaning that family is what you make it to be. It really is a book for all views. This book would make a fantastic gift.
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By S.H on August 1, 2009
Format: Hardcover
This book has wonderful illustrations. We couldnt get over the colors and details on every page, not to mention the charming story to go along. I recommend this book to everyone that wants a good read for children AND adults alike.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I love this book for so many reasons. I love the sweetness of the sentiments. I love the simple meanings with the complexities. I love the fantastical combined with the basic realities. I love the lyrical nature of the story. But most of all, I love how it's all sewn together by cute and stunning illustrations that have so many delightful secrets to discover.

I started reading this book to my one year old daughter and she sat enraptured listening to the sing-songiness of the words. Now at almost two, she asks questions about what I read or the drawings on the page. She'll even shout out "teapot!" or "bubble" or whatever item she recognizes. We even play a sort of hidden object game. "Do you see the spoon?" "Yes!" "Where is the sheep?" *point* "Do you see Elmo?" "noooooo..." she'll say with a smile.

I know my daughter will enjoy this book for years and will learn more and find more every time we read it.

Thank you, Mary Ann Hoberman and Marc Boutavant!
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