Polacco, P. (2003). The Graves family. New York: Philomel Books. ISBN: 9780142406359
Annotation: The Graves family moves to town, and they are … different. Most people avoid them until two friendly neighborhood kids befriend the family and help them become accepted by everyone else.
Reaction: I laughed out loud when I read Mr. and Mrs. Graves’ first names: Doug and Shalleaux (Dug and Shallow Graves!!). This book was really fun, and Polacco does a great job of mixing the text and art. The situations in which the Graves get themselves are riotously funny: Mrs. Graves’s Venus Flytrap eating everyone at the Garden Club, the bald men using Mr. Graves’s elixir and growing huge pompadours, the behaving like cats. The illustration of all the cat behaviors exhibited by the men is probably my favorite in the entire book.
Polacco’s use of pencil gives the illustrations the feeling of being sketches, but her addition of the watercolors brings them to life and gives them complexity. I love her use of color and how intricately colored all the pictures are.
Media Used: Pencil and watercolor.