Through the Looking Glass Children's Book Reviews

Travels with My Family

Travels with My Family

David Homel, Marie-Louise Gay
Illustrator:   Marie-Louise Gay 
Fiction  Series
For ages 7 and up
Groundwood Books, 2007   ISBN: 978-0888998330

When most of us think about vacations, we see ourselves playing on a beach, going to a theme park, or visiting Paris or London. Not so with Charlie's parents. They avoid popular tourist spots, choosing instead to go to places where no one else goes. On paper this does not sound too bad, but in real life it can be very uncomfortable indeed.

One day Charlie's parents decide that the family is going drive to Maine to stay in a rented house by the ocean. They take Miro, the family cat, with them and the poor feline gets carsick during the drive. Charlie's little brother Max manages to get stung by a wasp, and the children's bikes fall off the car. Then, while Dad is putting the bikes back on the car, Miro escapes. This is only the beginning of what turns out to be memorable holiday.

After a hurricane hits Maine and terrifies everybody very thoroughly, Charlie's parents decide to drive south to warmer climes. They end up renting a house on the Georgia coast and, while they are having a pleasant time playing on a small island, the children and their mother learn how quickly the tide comes in. The island they have been enjoying so much rapidly begins to shrink in size, and they have to swim for the shore as hard as they can before they are swept out to who knows where.

Anyone who has been on a not-so-successful vacation will really appreciate this funny and wonderfully written collection of stories. In all, there are nine tales in the book and they are so well crafted that both children and adults will enjoy reading them. Laugh–out-loud funny scenes will leave readers chuckling and smiling, and Marie-Louise Gay's delightful illustrations can be found throughout the volume. The details in the stories are so true to life that one cannot help wondering if the authors personally experienced some of the adventures they describe.