RAY AND THE BEST FAMILY REUNION EVER by Mildred Pitts Walter

RAY AND THE BEST FAMILY REUNION EVER

Age Range: 8 - 12
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KIRKUS REVIEW

A boy of Creole descent goes to a family reunion, where he develops a relationship with his estranged grandfather and learns the history of his people. Eleven-year-old Ray Moret is looking forward to celebrating his great-grandfather’s 90th birthday. But his family’s plans are almost derailed when Ray’s father learns that his father, to whom he hasn’t spoken in many years, is planning on attending as well. Ray is particularly interested in meeting his gran-papa, as he’s been told that he favors him physically. The Creole people have African, Native American, French, and Spanish blood, but Ray is the only dark-skinned member of his immediate family. Although his father forbids it, at the reunion Ray seeks out his grandfather, and from him and his great-grandfather, he learns about his ancestors and their place in history. The pressing questions the fictional story raises—Will Ray be able to have a relationship with Gran-papa? Why does his father hate Gran-papa and can they reconcile?—are at best only tangential to the history recounted. And while it’s clear that Walter is bursting with important pedagogical information she wishes to impart, the sections where the distant past is recounted simply halt the action. Likewise, the issues surrounding skin tone and societal and familial acceptance, though fascinating, are discussed more than they’re dramatized. Still, Walter gives young readers a lot to think about, and they’ll be rooting for Ray to succeed in reuniting his family. (Fiction. 8-12)

Pub Date: Jan. 1st, 2002
ISBN: 0-06-623624-X
Page count: 128pp
Publisher: HarperCollins
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 15th, 2001




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