*A grandmother welcomes her family, friends, and neighbors into her small home, and everyone arrives with lots of food and energy. As the guests show up, Brown-Wood counts up to “15 hungry grandkids,” writing in breezy, confident rhymes: “Nine chatting aunties all head for the den,/ and set down the cheesecakes that add up to ten.” Burris introduces the mostly African-American cast in smudgy digital illustrations with crayonlike outlines, creating a vibe of good-natured chaos. With no room indoors, the party moves into the backyard: “Perfect in size, at the edge of Brown Street,/ sits Grandma’s backyard, where we all go to eat.” A warmhearted tribute to the messy joys of a big, impromptu gathering.
—Publishers Weekly, starred review
A fantastic feast unfolds as Grandma’s family gathers at her very small home.There are “TWO turkeys send[ing] scrumptious smells through the air,” “FOUR pots of hot greens and ham hocks galore.” And that’s just to start. Beyond the food, there are the bearers of all these treats. “SEVEN cool uncles stroll up in a line, / with EIGHT jugs of lemonade, ice-cold and fine.” This rhyming counting book features a large family with brown skin, mostly of the same shade with some slight variations in skin tone but lots of different hairstyles, body types, and looks. The party doesn’t seem to be celebrating any particular holiday, just an excuse for family, neighbors, and friends (there are a few white faces among the friends) to come together and enjoy a multigenerational summer day. But there is a problem accommodating everyone, and one of the “FIFTEEN hungry grandchildren,” a logical little girl with a yellow headband holding back her Afro, has the solution. She suggests using the backyard, and the party moves outside without skipping a beat. There is a great sense of movement and bustle, and Grandma’s cat and dog can be spotted in each double-page spread. Grandma’s lucky to have all these family members, and young readers are even luckier to be invited to this wonderful family gathering.
Grandmother has prepared two turkeys and invited a cast of diverse friends over for a feast. After the last one arrives, “That’s when the walls bulge. There is no space! How will we all eat in this too-tiny place?” Rhymed couplets with a delightful lilt explain a common problem. As the verses count various items on each page up to the number 15, the dilemma is elucidated. Burris uses Photoshop with a soft pencil outline to capture the grandmother with her hot pink blouse, pink headband, and pink ballet flats. At the appropriate moment, the granddaughter solves the problem with “I KNOW” in a close-up perspective on a spread. VERDICT This counting story will have repeated readings during the holidays and all year round.
—School Library Journal
No matter how big Grandma’s extended family grows, she always finds room forrelatives and friends. The young, brown-skinned narrator describes in (generally)metered verse a gathering at Grandma’s house. The party includes one grandma,two turkeys, three neighbors (who come bearing “FOUR pots of hot greens andham hocks”)…all the way up to fifteen grandkids ready for a feast. When as manywarm bodies as possible squeeze into Grandma’s small house, the young narratorwhispers in Grandma’s ear her great idea to help everyone enjoy the party more.Burris’s lively, cheerful watercolor illustrations convey the frenetic nature of thisgathering, the joy the relatives and friends share in being together, and Grandma’sdetermination to make all her guests welcome. Burris also includes an abundanceof natural Afro hairstyles in her illustrations, offering a variety of mirrors for readerswith naturally textured hair. Children and adults alike will appreciate all theways this family enjoys one another’s company. A fine addition to book collectionsabout families, food, counting, and joyous gatherings.
—Horn Book Magazine