Summer may be drawing to a close, but it’s not over yet when “Grandma and Grandpa say COME.” In Marc Harshman’s latest picture book, One Big Family, a regular-sized family does just that. But a visit to see grandparents often means a road trip, and road trips can be long and boring, so “Dad says COUNT” to the eager yet verging-on-cranky children in the back seat. When they finally arrive to greet their grandparents at the same time as aunts, uncles and cousins, “Mom says KISS.”
Just being present together doesn’t make one big family, though. Sara Palacios’ digitally enhanced textured and patterned illustrations in earthy tones follow this family as they embark on a camping trip together and return to the grandparents’ house for additional indoor and outdoor activities. More action verbs reveal Harshman’s poetic background and emphasize their fun as together they eat meals, swim in the lake, sing songs around a camp fire, listen to stories and play games.
Like many families, both big and small, this family ends their time together by lining up in rows as “the photographer says SMILE.” For one of the youngest in this family, the resulting photograph leaves memories that will last for years. But no one will have to say what to do next time; the smiles will just happen.
Children will say READ again and again to this loving, intergenerational story, and the adults in their lives will say SHARE to include all family members in their reading.