It's all about family really, isn't it? After spending a weekend in Pennsylvania (for a memorial
service) with 35 relatives from a blended family, including two great nieces and a nephew
hitherto unmet, I realized once again that blood and marriage ties are not to be sneezed at.
Much laughter and many tears and a great deal of foraging through the haphazardly packed
refrigerator ensued, as we shared stories and pictures, traded contact info, and made promises
to visit and vacation together. So…with family in mind, below are some of my favorites.
My Family and Other Animals by Gerald Durrell, now a PBS series, is a real hoot. After Dad
dies, Mom moves the four children from England to Corfu and tries to make a go of it on her
widow's pension. Gerald became a well-known naturalist and brother Lawrence moved on to
literary fame with The Alexandria Quartet. Rosamund Pilcher's Coming Home details the
quest of a young Englishwoman who loses her parents to WW II to create a home of her own;
it's a long and satisfying read. Gloria Norris just published KooKooLand, an extraordinary
picture of growing up in the Manchester projects in a family dominated by a larger than life
father. And for the children among us, try Jeanne Birdsall's The Penderwicks, an ongoing
series about four daughters, their widowed father, friend Jeffrey, and a reliably goofy dog. But
my favorite, hands down, is Cynthia Rylant's picture book, The Relatives Came. What a family