Picture Book Sunday: My Family Tree and Me by Dušan Petričić

My Family Tree and Me by Dušan Petričić (Kids Can Press, April 2015) has zany illustrations and a creative twist on the entire “family tree” metaphor for family history.

The colorful family tree the author has illustrated represents people back to his great-great-grandfather on both sides. One side of the book portrays his father’s family, and the back of the book (going left toward the middle) portrays his mother’s side of the family. I love how the middle of the book brings both sides of the family together. For each generation, the previous generation is lightly sketched on a picture behind them, so the reader can easily compare the child to the parent: what does the younger generation carry over from the older generation? Noses, eyes, ears, and hair color are easily recognized as similar.

The book does well to represent diversity. There are a few black people and Asian people, as well as a gay couple portrayed in the family portrait. All aspects of the book seem to say to me “All-American family,” except for the fact that it is to be published in Canada and was written by a Serbian writer. This would be best described as a world family.

Obviously, the diversity is it’s strong point. This is how so many families are these days, and although, my own family tree is much less diverse (boring?), I loved this portrayal.

The illustrations appear to be pen and pencil with watercolor added on top (I believe). It has a cartoon look to it, with exaggerated features on some of the people to give them a distinct family look and provide some humor into the mix. I think the cover images are a perfect example of the zany look in this book. I love the idea of my family hanging out on a literal tree branch!

I can readily see using this book as a stepping-stone in to discussing and learning about one’s own family history. Can I talk my children in to making a family history book that meets in the middle?

About the author 

Rebecca Reid

Rebecca Reid is a homeschooling, stay-at-home mother seeking to make the journey of life-long learning fun by reading lots of good books. Rebecca Reads provides reviews of children's literature she has enjoyed with her children; nonfiction that enhances understanding of educational philosophies, history and more; and classical literature that Rebecca enjoys reading.

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