The Graves Family by Patricia Polacco

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Synopsis

The Graves family has just moved to Union City, and they definitely don't fit in. With giant spiders in the living room, a voracious Venus flytrap named Phoebe in the kitchen, and a secret laboratory in the basement, the neighbors are afraid to visit! Except for Seth and Sara Miller, the kids next door, who decide to help them make friends. Maybe if Mr. Graves gives all the bald men in town his amazing hair-growing tonic, which he developed from the follicles of house cats? It seems like a great idea-until the tonic-dosed town council starts chasing birds and running up trees! And then Phoebe nearly devours the Ladies' Auxiliary Garden Club-will the Graves family ever find a way to fit in?

This picture book is one of Polacco's funniest ever, with wild, colorful illustrations filled with creepy details that kids will love. And it has a beautiful message as well: differences should be celebrated, not feared!

 

About Patricia Polacco

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Patricia Polacco was born in Lansing, Michigan on July 11, 1944. She attended Oakland Tech High School in Oakland, California before heading off to the California College of Arts and Crafts in Oakland, then Laney Community College in Oakland. She then set off for Monash University, Mulgrave, Australia and the Royal Melbourne Institute of Technology, Melbourne, Australia where she received a Ph.D in Art History, Emphasis on Iconography. After college, she restored ancient pieces of art for museums. She didn't start writing children's books until she was 41 years old. She began writing down the stories that were in her head, and was then encouraged to join the Society of Children's Book Writers and Illustrators. There she learned how to put together a dummy and get a story into the form of a children's picture book. Her mother paid for a trip to New York, where the two visited 16 publishers in one week. She submitted everything she had to more than one house. By the time she returned home the following week, she had sold just about everything. Polacco has won the 1988 Sydney Taylor Book Award for The Keeping Quilt, and the 1989 International Reading Association Award for Rechenka's Eggs. She was inducted into the Author's Hall of Fame by the Santa Clara Reading Council in 1990, and received the Commonwealth Club of California's Recognition of Excellence that same year for Babushka's Doll, and again in 1992 for Chicken Sunday. She also won the Golden Kite Award for Illustration from the Society of Children's Book Writers and Illustrators for Chicken Sunday in 1992, as well as the Boston Area Educators for Social Responsibility Children's Literature and Social Responsibility Award. In 1993, she won the Jane Adams Peace Assoc. and Women's Intl. League for Peace and Freedom Honor award for Mrs. Katz and Tush for its effective contribution to peace and social justice. She has won Parent's Choice Honors for Some Birthday in 1991, the video Dream Keeper in 1997 and Thank You Mr. Falker in 1998. In 1996, she won the Jo Osborne Award for Humor in Children's Literature. Her titles The Art of Miss. Chew and The Blessing Cup made The New York Times Best Seller List. Author and editor Patricia Lee Gauch was born in Detroit, Michigan on January 3, 1934. She received a B. A. in English Literature from Miami University in Ohio, a M. A. in Teaching from Manhattanville College in Purchase, New York, and a Doctorate in English Literature from Drew University in Madison, New Jersey. Before she began writing children's books, she was a newspaper reporter for the Louisville Courier-Journal and freelanced for the Detroit Free Press. She has written over thirty children's books, which have received critical acclaim as well as numerous awards and citations. In 1985, she became the Editor-in-Chief of Philomel Books and was the editor for Caldecott Medal winners Owl Moon by Jane Yolen and Lon Po Po by Ed Young, as well as the Caldecott Honor winner Seven Blind Mice, also by Ed Young. She has taught children's literature at Rutgers University and Drew University and her reviews have appeared in The New York Times. She is currently the Vice-President and Editorial Director of Philomel Books and lives in Hyde Park, New York.
 
Published August 25, 2003 by Philomel. 48 pages
Genres: Humor & Entertainment, Science Fiction & Fantasy, Children's Books, Literature & Fiction. Fiction

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Kirkus Reviews

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Doug and Shalleaux Graves take off, with attendant children, oversized spiders and other household companions for Lake Bleakmire—a site so isolated that, along with Vernicious Knids, gnashing knarps, bilge leeches and other atypical fauna, the last Flatulent Sulphuric Fermious Flying Griffin (mor...

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Publishers Weekly

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When Mrs. Graves (who looks like something out of Mel Brooks's Young Frankenstein) joins the Garden Club, the greenery withers around her and her baby Venus flytrap attacks the baked goods.

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