Feel free to choose your family

 

Colin Thompson, Free to a Good Home

Random House Australia, 2009, 32p

 

The Smiths are not an ordinary family. They collect unusual things because they might need them and, unlike other children, theirs do not bring home stray animals but an old lady they have found at the shopping mall.

Usually people want to be like the others – neighbors, managers, wealthy friends or relatives. But not the Smiths. They know that being ordinary doesn’t necessarily mean being happy. They are not good at cooking or mending things or doing homework but they are a happy family.

The children have never met their grandparents because Mr Smith’s parents fell down a very deep hole when he was five and Mrs Smith’s parents were abducted by aliens. The context is perfect for Peter and Sally to bring home an old lady and make her their grandmother. She is as unusual as them and perfectly completes the family.

The illustrations might seem weird at first sight but they are actually very good. The story is warm and emphasizes the idea that family is more than having the same blood. In an innocent attempt for happiness, the Smiths have just demonstrated that it is possible for everybody to choose relatives.

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