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Review of My Family Tree and Me

petricic_my family tree and mestar2 My Family Tree and Me
by Dušan Petričić; illus. by the author
Primary   Kids Can   24 pp.
4/15   978-1-77138-049-2   $16.95

The truth that if one’s parents hadn’t met one wouldn’t exist is a head-exploding realization of childhood. In this celebration of ancestry, Petričić bounces off that revelation to create an innovative introduction to the ordinary miracle of genealogy. Read from front to middle, we meet the paternal line through five generations, Pops and Nana and all the rest. Read from back to middle, we are given portraits of the maternal line, Gong Gong and Po Po and their parents and children. And in a glorious middle double-page spread we see the whole extended family. Look who got the ginger eyebrows, the curly hair, the wide eyes. Stick-out ears come from both great-great-grandfathers and manifest in our first-person narrator and all his cousins. Having met the whole gang, we can move back and forth, tracing and inventing individual stories. Did the narrator get his love of football from that uncle? Where did the gay uncle meet his partner? Will any of the cousins grow up to be a musician, a soldier, a doctor, in business? Cartoonist Petričić’s gift for caricature is put to joyful use here, showing one family in all its variations and particular beauty.

From the May/June 2015 issue of The Horn Book Magazine.

About Sarah Ellis

Sarah Ellis is a Vancouver-based writer and critic, recently retired from the faculty of The Vermont College of Fine Arts.

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