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Tuesday, May 28, 2013

The Frazzle Family Finds a Way, written by Ann Bonwill and illustrated by Stephen Gammell. Holiday House, Thomas Allen & Son. 2013. $19.95 ages 5 and up

"The Frazzles were forgetful.
They forgot their umbrellas
when it rained.
They forgot their coats
when it snowed and their
sunscreen when it was sunny.

When they went off to work..."

You might know a family like the Frazzles. I know that I do!
None of the family members has much of a memory for what is needing to be done. You can tell that by reading the opening excerpt. It gets even worse when they head off to work...and it can be quite embarrassing for everyone. Even the dog has adopted the forgetfulness, and can't remember where he has buried his bones.

It takes some courage to invite Aunt Rosemary to come and help them organize their lives:

"Aunt Rosemary had ideas. "What you need is my system," she said. "It's guaranteed to work." She set about making notes and calendars and schedules and lists until it seemed the whole house was covered in paper."

By now you know how forgetful the Frazzles are! They forget to read the notes and check the calendars. It happens to everyone at one time or another.  But, when Annie hears Aunt Rosemary singing (?) in the bathtub, it gives her an idea, and the solution to all of their troubles:

"Soon Annie heard something coming from the bathroom. Aunt Rosemary's singing voice sounded like Wags when the string around his tail was tied too tightly, but it gave Annie an idea."

 Their problems are history!

I have always loved Stephen Gammell's happy and often chaotic watercolor art. Here, he is in his element with a family that embodies that chaos. He fills the pages with tangled clothing, unruly hair, confused expressions, bright spots of color and a healthy dose of humor. His paints splash action in every direction. The final spread says it all...with cake and chaos, but a celebration just the same!

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