Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Book Review (Kids): The Truth About Cousin Ernie's Head, by Matthew McElligott

The Truth About Cousin Ernie's Head, written and illustrated by Matthew McElligott.

With the holiday season coming up, kids are likely to be regaled by another round of leftover and lukewarm family stories. Such is the reason that the young narrator (unnamed throughout McElligott's tale) is dreading spending Thanksgiving with his dysfunctional, quirky family.

(Think you've hit the jackpot in regards to dysfunctional kin? Think again. This crew has Aunt Helen and Uncle Max, who arrive at Thanksgiving via bicycle from Alaska, and Uncle Klaus who flew in for the feast from Bangladesh.)

Soon enough, the familiar arguments ensue.

"I ate an airplane, tires and all," said Aunt Edith.

"There's nothing like a good airplane," Uncle Max agreed. "Remember the time that airplane landed on Cousin Ernie's head?"

"Max, you know very well it wasn't an airplane," said Aunt Helen. "It
was a buzzard."


"Pardon me," said Uncle Ogden, softly. "but it wasn't an airplane or a
buzzard. I remember quite clearly. It was Mrs. Halusa from next door. She was bringing us a casserole."


Soon everyone was arguing about Cousin Ernie's head.

Our young narrator escapes to his grandmother's attic, where he finds old family movies that prove, once and for all, what actually happened.

"Hidden within those scenes were the answers to all the silly arguments my family had been having for years!" (like whether or not Aunt Helen was at the liver and onions barbeque, or the secret of what Aunt Edith kept in her car trunk for emergencies (toads)

Indeed, the family movie should solve everything, but instead, it makes things worse. Our young narrator and his grandmother create a plan to get the family back together again - back to the way they once were.

I liked this book, which I found at the library (it was published in 1996) and so did Betty and Boo. (They requested several readings of it during the time we had it out, so that's usually a good sign of their interest.) Adults will enjoy this because it shows how goofy one's relatives can be and kids will like this because they can relate to another kid who has a crazy family. With the holidays approaching, 'tis the season for family get-togethers and kids of all ages (the age range for this is from 5-8) will find something to like about this.

I couldn't find any reviews about this one, but perhaps you might enjoy Matthew McElligott's website.

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