316. The Not-Just-Anybody Family by Betsy Byars

The Not-Just-Anybody Family by Betsy Byars. Illustrated by Jacqueline Rogers  (US) - (Canada)
The Blossom Family (#1)

Pages: 149
Ages: 8+
Finished: Nov. 18, 2012
First Published: 1986
Publisher: My Copy: Dell Yearling (1987); Current: Holiday House
Genre: realistic fiction, MG
Rating: 5/5

First sentence: "Junior stood on top of the barn, arms out-stretched, legs apart."

Publisher's Summary: "Newbery Award-winning author Betsy Byars' heartwarming and timeless books about the irrepressible Blossom family are back. In this introduction to the one-of-a-kind clan, Pap, the Blossom's grandfather, has landed himself in jail for disturbing the peace. Even though Junior is laid up in the hospital with two broken legs after jumping off the barn roof to test his new homemade wings, he and his sister and brother, Maggie and Vern, have come up with a plan to rescue Pap. A new generation of readers will fall head over heels for this engaging, hilarious family."

Acquired:  Purchased a used copy from annual book sale.

Reason for Reading: Betsy Byars is one of my absolute favourite MG/YA authors.  I've read a lot of her books and have been anxiously awaiting for my ds to be ready for this series in particular, as it is my favourite by her.  I read this aloud to him.  I've collected the whole set so we will be continuing with it this coming year.

The Blossom Family books are absolutely hilarious!  This first book in the series had us laughing out loud from chapter one straight through to the end.  DS just loved it and I hand a grand time reading it aloud!  The Blossoms, I suppose could be called a dysfunctional family, in the fact that they are not well-off and their family circumstances could be construed as a bit neglectful from today's viewpoint.  However, this is a family that loves each other dearly and they make the best with what they have.  Junior is a daredevil, coming up with all sorts of ideas while his older brother and sister encourage him.  Maggie is the eldest yet smaller than her slighter younger brother Vern, wears his hand-me downs so is always dressed like a boy.  They are mostly looked after by their grandfather "Pap" who often leaves them to their own devices and has spent time in jail before.  In fact the family procedure when the police come to the house is to run away as fast as you can and hide.  The father is dead and the mother is a rodeo star who travels all summer.  Not the ideal family situation, but make no mistake about it, there is love aplenty here and one member will stick up for the others come what may.

The crazy antics and hilarious quips begin in chapter one and never let up.  This is a quick book to read especially since the chapters are usually 3-4 pages long making it so easy to say "just one more chapter".  Along with being funny, there are a few tense moments and others more poignant as we see the Blossoms deal with the ups and downs of their far from easy life.  Highly recommended!


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