As a cousin, I compare myself to books about cousins. And while me and mine did play and have ice cream, we did not do it the way this family does in Summer Is for Cousins. But it does not matter how you spent your summers; you probably can relate to Ravi’s family. He is the almost youngest (there is a new seventh cousin to his sixth place), he admires his oldest cousin, and he likes sharing ice cream time with all the cousins. The idea of the story is simple, we follow Ravi and the cousins doing summer cousin things in boldly colored, simple illustrated artwork. And we see how Ravi is growing, changing (he now can use the tire swing) and how the others are changing too (his older cousin has a deeper voice) and this makes him excited and shy. But in the end, it does not matter how much you change, favorite ice cream flavors and cousin time does not. Rajani Larocca’s text and Abhi Alwar’s illustrations show how summer and family can be special.
Now as an aunt, I tend to disagree with authors about how aunts are portrayed in stories. We are either the sweet, “like a granny only younger,” or the grumpy one. But with Oh No, the Aunts Are Here you have a third type: the hugging, hand sanitizer in the purse, mint carrying, going to the quilt museum kind. They are excitable, give you news articles about wolves, sleep in your room, wear comfortably pajamas, think you still like horses (and why do you not like horses, oh look horses!) and forget to lock the bathroom door. But when you need them the most Adam Rex’s aunts come to the rescue with flying colors and bottles of hand sanitizer! And all this fun is shown with colorful illustrations by Lian Cho (who knows how a cool aunt should look: wearing her “Coolest Aunt” shirt).
Just in time for summer (both are due in May 2023) these books will make you appreciate your family or at least know you are not alone with the insanity of family.