Through the Looking Glass Children's Book Reviews

On the Road Again!: More Travels with My Family

On the Road Again!: More Travels with My Family

David Homel, Marie-Louise Gay
Illustrator:   Marie-Louise Gay 
Fiction  Series
For ages 7 and up
Groundwood Books, 2008   ISBN: 978-0888998460

Charlie and Max's parents have taken them on many very unique vacations over the years, but this time they have really taken the whole "cultural experience" thing to a whole new level. This time the boys and their parents are going to live for a year in a small French village in southern France. To make things worse, the village is named after a vegetable, Celeriac. Charlie has never even seen a celeriac let alone eaten one. There is no stopping Charlie's parents when they decide on something, and so the family move to their new home in Celeriac.

From the moment that they arrive, Charlie and his family discover that the people in Celeriac are very colorful. As they drive into town, they see a man "stealing" a duck from the river. Then they meet their new neighbor's elderly dog, Linda. Linda likes to lie in the road, and rather than move her, people will back down the street. Not long after the family arrives, the town holds a bull run and Charlie's father has a very close encounter with one of the infuriated animals. Luckily Charlie is there to save his dad in the nick of time.

And this is only the beginning. Charlie and Max have all kinds of delightfully peculiar adventures during their year in France, and in spite of everything, they come to feel that Celeriac is their village.

This deliciously entertaining book continues the story of Charlie and Max's vacation adventures that were begun in Travels with my family. Readers will quickly see how families are not all that different – there is a sameness to be found no matter where you live or come from. There is always someone who drives someone else crazy. There is always someone who is eternally optimistic, and someone else who worries a lot. These familiar character traits make it easy to identify with the people in the story, and it personalizes the reading to great effect.

Then there is the fact that readers gets to sample life in a French village through the experiences of this family. This feature makes the book very attractive to older readers, even adults, who will find themselves wishing that they had the means to live in such a village, duck thieves and all.