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Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Welcome Home?: The Graves Family by Patricia Polacco

Hello there fellow insatiable readers!  Welcome to another post here at the site created and dedicated to the pursuit of reading happiness.!  Yes, I am long winded today, why I can't quite say as I'm actually quite tired....stranger things have happened though.  Is it just me or is 2009 FLYING by?  I mean it seems only yesterday it was summer, when in fact a few days ago it was Halloween and now we are steadily marching our way towards Thanksgiving!  Where did the time go? 

Speaking of Halloween, we had a great turn out this year in regards to trick-or-treaters.  Over the last 2 years, we had 12, and then 6 respectively.  This year, we had a whopping 26!  Whoo-HOO!  It was quite enjoyable...yes, quite.  Whilst sitting outside by the garage (it's easier than the kids coming to the door with the pups...they tend to bark at visitors, plus the whole neighbor usually works it out this way), enjoying the cool night breeze and a background of spoooooky music, I found myself having brief lulls between visitors and thus...bored!  (What can I say, I must have something to do!)  What to do?  (If you can't guess my choice, you might not have been reading my blog for very long...)  Oh, I know!  READ!  So I pulled out a few of the titles that I had wanted to review prior to the holiday's arrival and set myself to both tasks.  This review, as well as a few to follow, is the result of that endeavor.  Here we go!  Today's book choice is....

The Graves Family
Patricia Polacco

We begin on a dark a dark corner of the world....outside the darkened community of Union City.  (oooooooohhhhhhhhh...okay, that was suppose to be a ghostly sound....use your imagination)  The Graves family have chosen this night precisely for the cover it provides from prying eyes.  Why the cover?  Well, they are the new residents of a formerly dilapidated house and let's just say that their presence in most towns is less than welcome.  (Really?  The clock tower spins backwards and the fountain turns blood red...yeah, I'd say less than welcome is an understatement.)  When two kind-hearted neighborhood children,Seth and Sara, approach their young boy, Ronnie (that's his "short name", we'll get to his given one in a sec), he has the chance to have friends once again...if only they can get past his front door! 

With moving wallpaper (yep, it's actually all spiders), pet pillows (BIG spiders), and voracious houseplants, what could possibly be in store for them next?  Oh, simply the fact that his father is a scientist (Mad?  No, but definitely out there.) and his mother can't be near most living plants.  No big deal, right?  Wrong!  When things start to go horribly wrong, the children try to fix the problem and stave off the angry mobs only to have their simple solution turn into an unexpected event with revealing consquences.  Will the Graves family have to move on once again to find a forever home?

I must say I love the quote across from the title page (in my copy at least) written between the tiers of the fountain flowing freely with red water..."Those who march to a different drummer are in a magnificent band indeed!"  This family definitely fits the bill there.  When I first picked up this book, I was looking for another quick one to add to my pre-Halloween repertoire.  Little did I know the story I would find within.  Longer than it seems when it first meets the eye, and full of illustrations to dazzle (gross out) and "bewitch" the mind, author Patricia Polacco weaves a curious tale.  I found the mother's aversion to living plants rather interesting as brought to mind the classic story of "Rappaccini's Daughter" by Nathaniel Hawthorne.  The main female character had a similiar affliction (curious choice to include there), but alas, not quite as happy of an outcome.  Special note...if you check this one out for yourself, you simply must read the (short) "About the Author" section at the back of the book.  (Why?  You'll see...)

Then of course (or should I say first?) we have the cover wherein the title and author are presented in almost a reserved order...setting you up for the story, to be guided along by the narrator.  Lastly, we have the wonderful array of names!  I often wonder where authors come up with some of the names they use for their characters...this is no exception.  Ronnie is really Hieronymus (upon searching Google, appears to draw from a religious background...maybe).  His parents are Doug (okay, one simple name) and Shalleaux; his sisters, Billicent, Cintilla, Congolia, and Tondileo (may I suggest pronouncing these in your mind as opposed to your mouth to avoid any embarrassing mispronuciations) round out this unique assortment.

Although the Halloween planning is behind us for another year, the question begs to be asked....did you have fun?  How did you spend your Halloween night?  Trick-or-treating?  Party?  Perhaps doling out the candy?  Do share!

Until next time....happy reading!

**Secondary picture from the author's site.  No copyright infringement intended.  Visit the author's site via the link near the top of this post to see more!


Juju at Tales of said...

Fun pick! I spent the day reading Ruined :)

....Petty Witter said...

Obviously another book with amazing illustrations. Was it just me or did they remind you of those typical of Roald Dahl books? No? Probably just me then.

GMR said...

Juju: Did you enjoy it? (I've heard good things about it, but alas, have not read it myself.)

Petty Witter: You're right! I knew they looked familiar to me, but I couldn't quite place my finger on it. Very "Dahl"-esque indeed!

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