The Fairweathers know everyone and everyone knows the Fairweathers. Their little house is close to a four-lane highway and factories tower overhead. Every morning they wave to the passing trucks and the drivers wave back. They are truly happy..until one day they learn that their house must be demolished. In this time of trouble, who can the Fairweathers turn to but their friends and a spirit of hope? Bob Graham currently lives in Somerset with his family, but has spent most of his life in Sydney. He trained at the Julian Ashton Art School and has published a wide range of award-winning children's picture books.
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Kindergarten-Grade 2. Spirit of Hope is the name of a large ship seen by the Fairweather family on their Sunday picnics; it also describes the attitude of this large and cheerful group through thick and thin. Father works at the nearby factory; when he comes home each day, "The welcome he received was second to none." Their family routines are celebrations of their life together. This is interrupted one day when they are informed that their house must be destroyed to make room for a new factory. Meanwhile, if readers have been paying attention to the action-filled cartoon illustrations, they will have noticed the youngest Fairweather's ever-present toy: a little house on wheels. It is from Mary's toy that the family gets the idea to put their house on metal drums and tow it away to the water where it is moored alongside the large ship and adopts its name. The ship images and language present in the conversations and narration culminate in a satisfying reality. The theme of this book resembles that of Virginia Lee Burton's The Little House (Houghton, 1978) in which a house is crowded out by urban development. Neither title preaches against the changes of time; both reflect resourcefulness in solving a problem.?Carolyn Jenks, First Parish Unitarian Church, Portland, ME
Copyright 1997 Reed Business Information, Inc.
Ages 4^-8. Meet the Fairweathers: Dad, Mom, Lilly, Cecily, Micky, Duggy, Sammy, Mary, Jock the Dog, Bumper and Thumper the rabbits, and Trevor the tortoise. Dad works six days a week at the factory across the street, but each night when he comes home, the fun begins for this loving, imaginative family. Ordered to move out (to make way for another factory), the Fairweathers despair of finding another house they can afford, but Mary's favorite toy inspires them to make a new home in an unexpected place. Graham's cartoon-style drawings capture the emotional ups and downs as well as the solid affection that makes the Fairweathers so appealing. Splashes of color in crayon shading and watercolor washes contrast the drabness of the factory with the gaiety of a happy home, the gloom of despair with the spirit of hope that gives the book its theme as well as its title. A good choice to read aloud, this engaging picture book will please children on many levels. Carolyn Phelan
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