Review Blog

Sep 19 2016

Just the way we are by Jessica Shirvington

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Ill. by Claire Robertson. ABC Books, 2016. ISBN 9780733331640
(Age: 4+) Families. Difference. Shirvington presents the young reader with an array of different families. Each is introduced on a one double page spread, those who make up the family described and shown in the illustrations, then the family is presented doing something together on the next double page. The second double page always ends with the refrain of the title 'Just the way we are', underlining the similarities and differences between each family, but also showing that each is just a family like any other.
The first family has a mum and dad with one child, and they all live together with the girl's grandfather, so the girl is able to do some amazing things with her grandfather while her parents are at work. The next shows a family with one child and two dads, followed by a family which lives in two houses, then a foster family where the child no longer calls the guardians by their names, but Mum and Dad, while the last family is a single parent family. Each shows the family doing things a family does together no matter how it is made up, and the illustrations underscore the basic needs of the child being met within the family: love, care and belonging.
Early readers will enjoy reading of all the different sorts of families and recognise that each is different but also the same.
Fran Knight

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