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Hope and Family. (children's bookshelf).

Hope and Family by Isabell Monk Illustrated by Janice Lee Porter Carolrhoda Books, Inc., February 2001, $15.95, ISBN 1-575-05230-X (Hope) ISBN 1-575-05485-X (Family) Ages: four to eight

In Family, Isabell Monk relates the story of Hope and her wonderful relationship with her great-aunt Poogee. Hope and her parents are joined by aunts, uncles and cousins for a family gathering at Aunt Poogee's farm. Family gatherings would be nothing without food, and the gathering at Aunt Poogee's does not disappoint. There is catfish for fryin', greens, chicken, corn on the cob with fresh squeezed lemonade to wash it down, all made from family recipes.

Hope has a family recipe of her own that she had learned from a cousin on her father's side. The recipe is a bit different, and she isn't so sure whether her mother's family will like the surprise she's made for everyone. At Aunt Poogee's gentle encouragement, Hope places her special dessert on the table alongside the other family dishes and watches with pride and joy as her peppermint pickles are gobbled up. Later that evening when things have quieted down, Aunt Poogee explains to Hope that food is a great way share family traditions, and Hope should always share a bit from her father's side and a bit from her mother's side to make her family's traditions that much more special.

Hope tells the story of a young girl and her warm memories of summer weekends spent with her great-aunt Poogee. Hope loves riding in the pink Cadillac and going to the crowed marketplace where they are sure to meet one or two of Aunt Poogee's friends. They stop for a spell to hear the latest bit of friendly gossip. During one particular visit to the marketplace, Hope becomes the unfortunate victim when one of her aunt's friends makes a disparaging comment about Hope's obvious "missed" heritage.

Later that evening, during their special bedtime storytelling, Aunt Poogee weaves a story full of all the love and faith her family's heritage is built upon, and the hope the child herself represents for her family's future.

In her first book for children, Isabell Monk gusses the wonderful tradition of verbal storytelling mixed with the old-fashioned family values of faith and love to defuse a sensitive subject many of our young children face today.

Natasha Woods currently lives in Los Angeles where she is working on her own African-inspired clothing line for children.
COPYRIGHT 2001 Cox, Matthews & Associates
No portion of this article can be reproduced without the express written permission from the copyright holder.
Copyright 2001, Gale Group. All rights reserved. Gale Group is a Thomson Corporation Company.

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Title Annotation:Review
Author:Woods, Natasha
Publication:Black Issues Book Review
Article Type:Book Review
Date:Nov 1, 2001
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