Book: The Best Family in the World
Author: Susana Lopez
Illustrator: Ulises Wensell
Age Range: 4-8
The Best Family in the World is a picture book about a little girl named Carlota. When Carlota learns that she's going to be adopted, she makes a wish to herself. She wishes for "the best family in the world." And then she spends time dreaming about what the best family in the world might be like. How about a family of pastry chefs? Or pirates? Or astronauts? Her daydream sequences are gorgeous windows into the things that small children find exciting, from cakes to tigers to buried treasure. But, in a satisfying conclusion, Carlota finds that her more conventional family is still "the best family in the world".
Somehow, Susana Lopez manages to make The Best Family in the World heart-warming but not sappy. I think that this is due to the imaginative details in Carlota's visions ("She'd take a Bengal tiger to school, and she'd be the most popular girl at recess"). Of course, Ulises Wensell's illustrations help, too. They're a nice mix of dreamy landscapes and festive, fun-filled details. And Carlota, as conveyed in the pictures, is bright-eyed and optimistic - the reader wants her to be happy, and is glad, at the end, when she is.
The Best Family in the World would be an excellent addition to the bookshelves of any family, adoptive or otherwise. Recommended.
Publisher: Kane Miller
US Publication Date: March 2010 (originally published in Spain in 2008
Source of Book: Review copy from the publisher
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