AUNT CLAIRE'S YELLOW BEEHIVE HAIR by Deborah Blumenthal

AUNT CLAIRE'S YELLOW BEEHIVE HAIR

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KIRKUS REVIEW

A child catches glimpses of her family's past in what they've left behind in this richly sentimental portrait gallery. After rummaging through "shoe boxes, dusty albums, old straw baskets, and the backs of drawers" one rainy afternoon, Annie sits with her grandma and great aunt to hear the stories behind what she's found: old stamps and letters; pictures of men, women, and babies in antique dress; the hair ribbon Aunt Claire wore as she cooked up homemade face cream and lipstick to sell; Great-Grandma Sophie's wedding veil; photos of soldiers, some of whom never came back. As Annie assembles the memorabilia into an album, adding explanatory one-liners like "Harry's dark eyes broke women's hearts," or "Stella's holiday dinners kept the family together," GrandPrÉ moves the point of view closer and closer in her creamy, luminous pastels, until the people begin to lean out past the edges of their snapshots, coming to life in Annie's mind. In its diversity—one ancestor came from Sweden, at least one other could be African-American, and Grandma makes a reference to the Kaddish at the end—Annie's family can stand for anyone's. The strength of Annie's urge to create connections with previous generations may kindle a similar interest in young readers—outweighing poor design that has allowed text on some pages to vanish into the gutter. (Picture book. 7-9)

ISBN: 1589804910
Page count: 32pp
Publisher: Dial