Russell Wrestles the Relatives
Russell Wrestles the Relatives
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Annotation: Russell tries to avoid his family of big, brawny, and boisterous wrestlers and their enthusiastic hugs, handshakes, and hair tousling during a boisterous family reunion.
Catalog Number: #165362
Format: Publisher's Hardcover
All Formats: Search
Publisher: Aladdin
Copyright Date: 2018
Edition Date: 2018
Illustrator: Duncan, Daniel,
Pages: 40
Availability: Available
ISBN: 1-481-49159-8
ISBN 13: 978-1-481-49159-4
Dewey: E
LCCN: 2017955448
Dimensions: 27 cm.
Language: English
Reviews:
ALA Booklist
Rightly worried that he'll be "squished like a toothpaste tube" when his relatives l professional wrestlers mble in for a family gathering, pipsqueak Russell tries to hide. But after his mom puts him in a wrist lock and drags him out to face the music, he discovers that he has moves of his own, from a Slippery Sidewinder that gets him out of cousin Cora the Cleaner's Spin Cycle to a Knuckle Knocker that deflects his cowboy Grandaddy's Texas Ticklehold. Grammy Dorothy's Kansas Crusher almost puts him down for the count until he plants a juicy kiss on her cheek that causes the whole crowd to line up for Smackdown Smooches. In cartoon illustrations, Duncan comically exaggerates the size differential between Russell and his outsized clan, kits out the relatives in colorful costumes, and leaves the triumphant tyke with both "a smile wide as a championship belt" and an actual belt to brandish. Young readers might want to consider Russell's smackdown strategy when facing bouts of their own with huggy, kissy relatives.
Horn Book
Scrawny Russell comes from a family of burly wrestlers and fears their smothering "attacks" at the upcoming reunion. Russell develops some evasive moves, but it takes a "Smackdown Smooch" to escape from Grammy Dorothy. The story's humor is rather one-note, but it's enhanced by the sketchlike digital illustrations. This silly take on a familiar hair-tousling-relatives scenario should speak to kids who've likewise felt space-invaded.
Kirkus Reviews
Mushy family reunions? With Russell's family they're more mashy than anything else.Russell is a scrawny kid, and with only one day left before the family reunion, he has yet to devise a plan to escape the tickles, hair-tousles, handshakes, and hugs. His family members are pro wrestlers, so get-togethers can get physical fast. Hiding doesn't get him past the opening doorbell. First his twin cousins "tag-team him with back-to-back Backbusters." Then his uncle "Iron Arm" Murphy grabs his hand for an Earthquake Shake. When his cousin "Cora, The Cleaner" grabs him for a Spin Cycle hug, Russell slips out of her hold. After another smooth escape, Russell suddenly has the moves and the confidence to thwart all attempts at hugging—but can he block Grammy Dorothy's trademark Kansas Crusher hug? Johnson's jokey juxtaposition of family togetherness and pro-wrestling silliness will strike both a chord and a funny bone for little listeners. Duncan's scratchy, colorful, digitally created, cartoon illustrations are full of goofy action and outrageous costumes. Russell and his mom are white, but skin tones and wrestler nicknames hint at a multiethnic extended family for Russell. When read with a TV-announcer voice, the exaggerated mayhem of text and illustration could make for a kooky KO at storytime. (Picture book. 3-7)
Publishers Weekly
Every kid expects a certain amount of -hugging, hand-shaking, and hair-tousling- when relatives come to visit. But for Russell, a family reunion portends something much worse: his aunts, uncles, cousins, and two grandparents are all professional wrestlers, complete with costumes (one relative dresses in a luchador-style outfit) and vivid nicknames, such as -the Texas Tickler- (Grandpa) and -Dorothy the Dropper- (Grandma). Russell feels scrawny in comparison to this beefy clan, and he assumes he-ll be -squished like a toothpaste tube.- But when he inadvertently extricates himself from the various familial clutches, he proves that he-s got moves that mark him as a chip off the old family wrestling block. Duncan (Shark Nate-O) effectively uses watercolor-and-ink cartooning to capture Russell in extremis, getting crushed by relatives; Johnson ties up the story with a heartwarming bow, with Russell realizing how much his WWE-style family loves him and how disarming-literally-a lovingly proffered kiss on the cheek can be. Ages 4-8. Author-s agent: Minju Chang, BookStop Literary Agency. Illustrator-s agent: James Burns, Bright USA. (June)
Reviewing Agencies: - Find Other Reviewed Titles
ALA Booklist (5/1/18)
Horn Book (8/1/18)
Kirkus Reviews
Publishers Weekly
Word Count: 648
Reading Level: 3.1
Interest Level: P-2
Accelerated Reader: reading level: 3.1 / points: 0.5 / quiz: 502033 / grade: Lower Grades
Lexile: 610L
Guided Reading Level: L

Everyone loves family reunions. Well everyone except Russell, whose family of big, brawny, and boisterous wrestlers has him on the run in this vibrant celebration of what it means to be a family.

When the Relatives Came meets Wrestlemania in debut author Cindy Chambers Johnson’s rollicking picture book about a family reunion with a most colorful cast of characters—from Lorry and Tory (the Twin Tornadoes) to Cousin Cora “The Cleaner” to Uncle “el monstruo” Marcoy.

Family reunions mean lots of hugging, handshaking, and hair tousling. And Russell’s relatives? Well, they are more…enthusiastic than most. BIGGER than most. BRAWNIER than most. They’re wrestlers! Skinny and scrawny Russell will have to meet, greet, and defeat this clan with some spectacular moves of his own!


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