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Pictures from Our Vacation

by Lynne Rae Perkins

Published by Greenwillow Books / HarperCollins, 2007
32 pages
ISBN: 0-06-085097-3

Ages 6-9

Podcast featuring this book

A girl’s describes her family vacation to the farm where her father spent many summers as a child in a story rich with acute observation and dry humor. The two-day drive is long stretches of boredom punctuated by the occasional spark of something that captures her interest (“an orange truck with the word YELLOW on it . . a sign for a motel that had a red roof”) and inspires her imagination (“if I had a motel, I would call it The Blue Motel . . . ”). Once at the farm, she notes, “Our dad saw happy memories everywhere he looked. All we could see was old furniture and dust.” Several days marked by too much rain and too little to do are followed by an adventure full of wrong turns and unexpected change before finally arriving at the lake her dad swam in as a child . . . where it starts to rain. A memorial service (“Do I have to wear a dress?”) for a relative she never knew marks a turning point. Aunts, uncles, and cousins have gathered, and the days following the service are filled with friendship, warmth, and laughter. A child-centered perspective on adult nostalgia is just one of the many distinct aspects of this highly original picture book full of captivating visual and narrative detail. Perkins playful, sometimes poignant exploration of the tension between nostalgia and reality is even more intriguing given the girl’s realization that the photographs she took early on in the trip have little connection to the experiences she finds most meaningful at its end. It’s the pictures in her mind—her memories--that matter most. Honor Book, 2008 Charlotte Zolotow Award  © Cooperative Children's Book Center

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