61. The Relatives Came by Cynthia Rylant
Retell: Every summer the relatives from Virginia drive several hours to visit their family. There is a lot of hugging, a lot of chatting and a lot of eating. When they leave, the house feels a bit empty.
Topics: family, summer, reunions
Units of Study: Personal Narrative, Memoir
Reading Skills: envisionment, inference, making connections
Writing Skills: using sensory details, describing how time passes
My Thoughts: I found this classic for only $2 at a great used bookstore in Mt. Shasta, California. It used to belong to a library so the bottom of each page is cracked, crinkled and reinforced with tape–a testament to how much we love this book. This is a wonderful book to use during the Personal Narrative unit. Though it’s not technically a small moment (the book spans over two weeks) sections of it can be used as a mentor text. I notice that many of my students struggle when writing about time. They often spend a lot of energy including each detail because it happened ‘next’. I see a lot of stories where each sentence begins with ‘then’. Sections of The Relatives Came could be used to show how authors deal with time. The relatives drive for a long time but Rylant doesn’t describe every single thing they see or every pit stop they make. She chooses to focus on a few details only, the strange houses, mountains, and their thoughts of purple grapes back home. The illustrations also tell a story themselves making it a good book for modeling inference.
Entry filed under: Caldecott Award Winners, Female Authors, Picture Books. Tags: envisionment, family, inference, making connections, memoir, personal narrative, reunions, sensory details, summer, time.