Sunday 21 October 2012

295. My Funny Family by Chris Higgins and illustrated by Lee Wildish

My Funny Family by Chris Higgins and illustrated by Lee Wildish
Published October 2012 Hodder Children’s

From the publisher:
Mattie is nine years old and she worries about everything. Which isn't surprising. Because when you have a family as big and crazy as hers, there's always something to worry about. Will the seeds she's planted in the garden with her brothers and sisters grow into fruit and veg like everyone promised Why does it seem as if Grandma doesn't like them sometimes And what's wrong with Mum Fortunately, reassurance is always close to hand in this first winning story about the lovable Butterfield clan.

Mattie is telling the story, she is 9, her sister V is 7, brother Dontie is 11, brother Stanley 4 and Anika who is 2.  Mattie is a worrier, she worries about everything, from how will they eat if there isn’t enough money for food, why doesn’t her Grandma like them and what would happen if her parents stopped liking each other?

Most of the worries are based on bits of information gleaned from overheard conversations and observations of daily life, none of which give Mattie the full picture, so she fills in the gaps, and creates worries for herself.  When Mum has to put some things back at the supermarket, because she can’t afford it all, Mattie worries about how they will be able to eat.  The solution to this one is easy, they will plant a veggie patch.  Not only will they have food to eat, but they can sell what they don’t need for a bit of extra money. The problem of Grandma being so crazy is helped by the veggie garden too, as it’s something that Grandma can help with, and all of the family work together to make it work. 

Then there’s the new problem with Mum being sick.  She’s been ill, losing weight, has been to the doctor, but won’t say what she found out, Mattie is terrified that she will die like their neighbour Auntie Etna.  When her Mum and Dad find out she has been carrying all of these worries around with her, they let her in on a secret that no-one else knows!

I am a big fan of the Casson Family stories by Hilary McKay, Permanent Rose is probably my standout, this book reminded me of those stories.  This book is for a younger audience than the Casson books, but they have the same feel.  A large family, artistic parents, all of the children unique characters and a story that deals with daily life, which sounds like it could be a boring book, but it’s charming, sad and laugh out loud funny all at the same time.

Who will like this book: Girls age 7+
Read it if you like: Violet Mackerel series

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