Author/Illustrator: Lane Smith
Publisher: Viking, 1993
Age: 3-5 (debatable; read on…)
Themes: family life, humorous stories
Opening: We Are the Hocky Family. I am Mr. Hocky! I am Mrs. Hocky! I am Baby Hocky! I am Henry Hocky! I am Holly Hocky! I am Newton!
Summary: A series of short silly stories written in the simple structure of a Dick and Jane book. But with an unusual sense of humor. (read on…)
Why I like this book: (If you haven’t noticed, my November picks are a little edgy, a bit darker – like November.) The humor is not necessarily the kind one usually finds in a picture book. In fact, when I first found this I was a bit shocked. But, sure enough, it held power over me, because I bought it, and I don’t really buy that many books. I put it on the shelf. As long as it would let me. When people stopped by, I started showing it to see how others reacted. Everyone laughed and we all agreed this was no typical picture book. That’s why I debate the age range given on the Amazon site, listed above. It’s for ALL us kids. We all laugh without turning the pages looking for the typical happy end, actually we just look forward to what Smith has thought of next! This is more about real life – we make mistakes, things get broken, and we don’t have to like everything about everyone. So I would suggest a parent read this themselves before sharing it with kids, because some parents might not be pleasantly surprised. In my opinion, kids are more comfortable with themselves.
Resources/Activities: the illustrations are very simple throughout, easy for a young person to emulate, but go to Ed Emberley’s blog Drawing Pages for lots of great suggestions and instructions on drawing with simple shapes; check out this must-read conversation-style review, between a dad and his kids – on Bookie Woogie; now that you’ve read the review, have a similar discussion with kids about what it is they see in the book, not what we assume they might. You might be pleasantly surprised!
More PPBF picks and resources for teachers and parents – HERE