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The Relatives Came

4.20  ·  Rating Details  ·  11,068 Ratings  ·  452 Reviews
In a rainbow-colored station wagon that smelled like a real car, the relatives came. When they arrived, they hugged and hugged from the kitchen to the front room. All summer they tended the garden and ate up all the strawberries and melons. They plucked banjos and strummed guitars.
When they finally had to leave, they were sad, but not for long. They all knew they would be
Paperback, 32 pages
Published July 31st 1993 by Atheneum Books for Young Readers (first published 1985)
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May 01, 2010 Brooke rated it it was amazing
Summary: From School Library Journal
The title of Rylant's exuberant tale is an understatement, for when "those relatives" came, they came en masse and they came for an extended stay. Their anticipation at seeing kin during their long, long drive and finally hugging them "against their wrinkled Virginia clothes" set the tone for this welcome family reunion, a visit that never wears thin. The relatives are depicted as a support system to help a fatherless family with all the things that need to be
Chris Go
Aug 15, 2014 Chris Go rated it it was amazing
I found out about this book from Anita Silvey's Children's Book-a-Day Almanac -- over a year ago! But as the impending doom of my relatives' visit approaches, I thought it was time to check it out from the library, and so placed it on hold. I'm very glad I did, even though I am not sure how helpful it will be in my situation. It is still nice to know that such families are out there enjoying the company of one another.

In "The Relatives Came" the cousins from Virginia pack themselves into their r
NS Kelley
Oct 27, 2009 NS Kelley rated it it was amazing
I really enjoyed this story. It is a about a large family who live in two different places. They come to visit each other once a year. The author starts out the book describing one family (from Virgina) packing up their things and piling into a car together to drive all day and night to see the other part of their family. Once they arrive they are so estatic to see each other that they can't stop hugging or talking with each other. It talks about how they make room to house both families. The au ...more
Jul 20, 2012 Lissa rated it liked it
Shelves: family
This book reminds of when I was little and we would go on trips to visit family, and we always left early in the morning. You can feel the anticipation of getting to the place and the love you feel once you get there. Everyone helps each other by fixing things, and tending to the garden. When the relatives left the house was quiet and empty, everyone had gotten used to the crowd of people, but vacations have to end. The illustrations are happy and bring more to the story, so much going on in eac ...more
Dec 25, 2011 Ellie rated it it was amazing
Shelves: childrens-book
I have been reading-and rereading-The Relatives Came repeatedly over the past week. Cynthia Rylant's prose is like simple poetry both lyrical and humorous. It has been a pleasant release from the stress of the holidays. I've read a number of other similar books as well by other authors this week but this was the one that "worked" for me.
Emily Egbers
Feb 07, 2016 Emily Egbers rated it it was amazing
My mother read me this book numerous times as a young child and as I read the book again, it brought me back to my childhood! This book is a realistic picture storybook that won a Caldecott Honor in 1986. It is about a family who lives in two different locations and their family reunion that occurs once a year. The book begins by talking about family members from Virginia packing up and driving all day and night to visit with their family. As a reader, you experience the anticipation of the char ...more
Zainab Faridi
Oct 10, 2015 Zainab Faridi rated it it was amazing
The Relatives Came is the story of a family living in Virginia who decide to visit their relatives in another state. This book appeals to a wide range of children because its plot focuses on a large family living together during the summer and having to share a small space. However, the initial discomfort later turns into a memorable experience as family members come closer together. The language style used in the book is age-appropriate and the characters are realistic without being over-exag ...more
Ashley McMurtrey
Feb 25, 2015 Ashley McMurtrey rated it really liked it
The Relatives Came is about a family in Virginia going on a long car ride to visit family North of them. When the family arrived they hugged and hugged, and even while eating hugged some more. The relatives stayed for many weeks helping around the house and in the garden. Everyone shared a bed too. They ate all the fruit and played many musical instruments. The time came for the relatives to go back to Virgina, and on the way home they were sad to leave but were already planning the next summer ...more
Feb 05, 2015 Elise rated it liked it
Shelves: kids-books
Just ok
Kelsey Veeder
Jul 16, 2014 Kelsey Veeder rated it really liked it

A story about a summer spent with relatives, Cynthia Rylant’s picture book was a comforting and delightful read illuminated by beautiful colored pencil illustrations, compliments of Stephen Gammell. The Relatives Came details the ins and outs of a visiting family, a occurrence I can very well relate to, even though the book was published in 1985. Upon opening this book, I was overcome with how it smelled (weird, I know.) The pages held the same aroma of all the books I read in my grade school li

Kelly Borton
Mar 26, 2014 Kelly Borton rated it it was amazing
This is a story many can relate to as a family travels from Virginia by car for hours to visit Aunts, Uncles, and cousins. It reminds me of my days of looking forward to our family reunions. The excitement, hustle and bustle of getting there. Plus, the interactions with family of enjoying meals, music, and telling stories. I most enjoyed Rylant's description of the settings and how she takes a family trip and makes it come to life. She uses sensory words that build a picture in the reader's eye ...more
Jun 09, 2015 June rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: family requests
I love this celebration of family. I use to show the filmstrip, when we did those during story time. However, my group at story time was just as entranced with the book. (Though the illustrations of the moon were a huge hit with one boy.)7/11/12

Used in story time again this year. 6/26/13

Used in story time, but the crowd was a bit young. I guess I should have gone with One Summer Day
Catherine Sandusky
Oct 21, 2014 Catherine Sandusky rated it really liked it
The Relatives Came is a picture book with beautifully crafted illustrations that talks about what it is like when families get together. It had a repetitive style that used a lot of the same wording and came full circle from beginning to end, making it a good book for students who are expanding their vocabulary through reading. In the book, the narrator talks about the hugging, and crying, and laughing, and snoring, and breathing, and eating that goes on when the relatives came, and what it was ...more
Apr 06, 2014 Lisa rated it it was amazing
I was delighted to open up this picture book and find illustrations rendered in pure colored pencil. I'm trying to read a hundred picture books by June, and currently I 'm somewhere in the seventies, and this is the first picture book I've come across that's done all in colored pencil. So that was really neat!

The story is so interesting to me, in terms of writing, because there is no standard conflict and resolution plot line; rather, the book is a slice of life story about relatives coming to s
Lucy Bowler
People tucked into all corners of the house describes my ideal family get together - just as in Cynthia Rylant's The Relatives Came. I discovered this children's picture book in our local library, but fell in love with it and had to buy a copy of our own. While it's not a Christmas book per se, it's about a family gathering during the American summer - their favourite time of the year. I must confess that I'm unable to read The Relatives Came without bursting into tears and you'd be the same wit ...more
Brigid Sullivan
I read this book as a child and I love the pictures and the story! It is about a family reunion. The family is big and relatives come from all over to get together and eat, dance, picnic, laugh and play. The have so much fun together and they are all sad when the reunion is over. But they all quickly cheer up, knowing that they will see each other at next years reunion. The family is clearly very close.
This book could be used in a unit on family or a unit on traveling. Students could brainstorm
Kristin Forman
Jul 20, 2014 Kristin Forman rated it really liked it
The Relatives Came is a cute book about family coming into town. They have a lot of fun together and when it is time for them to leave, they are sad. I can definitely relate to this book because a lot of my family lives out of state and I only get to see them once or twice a year. It is so enjoyable to go visit them or for them to come visit us in Ohio. I think that a lot of our students can relate to this book because family does not always live close. I love reading this book because it is cle ...more
Colin E.c.
I like that they're going to visit someone. I like the old station wagon and the food that they have and the way they sleep.
Mikayla Sims
Nov 30, 2014 Mikayla Sims rated it really liked it
This book is relate able to all. It tells the story of a family that travels to see the rest of their family in another state. The book talks about their trip to see their family and then all of the love that is shown while they are with their family. This is a fun and entertaining book that will have kids laughing the whole time. This book would be appropriate to read with any grade level because of the fun-loving feel of the book. After reading this book, students could create their own family ...more
Mar 12, 2015 Betsy rated it it was amazing
A lyrical, rollicking celebration of big family get togethers.
Sarah Bennett
This book is about an old fashion Appalachian family reunion.The family does not get to spend much time together throughout the year, yet when they are together there are many hugs and laughs. The relatives come in an oversized rainbow-colored station wagon. When they arrived, the family home is filled with lots of talkative people, blankets on the floor, and many pillows! All summer, they tend to the garden and eat up the berries and melons. They even play music on banjos and guitars. It makes ...more
Kandice Buck
Sep 16, 2015 Kandice Buck rated it it was amazing
Shelves: adventure
This is about relatives waiting on their other relatives to come visit them. It discusses the differences between where their relative's house is and where their house is. It discusses everything they do when the relatives are in town. The illustrations are very creative and detailed. This will be good to read to children because it is very entertaining. It is also a great book to make predictions with. The illustrations help you as a teacher to think of ways to develop conversations with the ch ...more
Crystal MacNamee
The Relatives Came
By Cynthia Rylant/illustrated by Stephen Gammel
Contemporary Realistic Fiction
(Caldecott Honor Book, 1986)
Published in 1985

This book takes place at a quiet home with a calm and loving family who have been expecting relatives who come from far away. They roar into the driveway with their old beat up family car and a hoard of cousins, aunts, and uncles piled up inside. They give out big hugs. They sleep on the floor. They play games outside and cook on the grill. They come in like
Catey Steele
Dec 04, 2014 Catey Steele rated it liked it
The Relatives Came by Cynthia Rylant is about a large family who only gets to see their relatives once or twice a year. They told about all the different traditions they did like sleep all in the same room, or have one large family dinner. This was a very sweet book. It is such a cute story about the exciting times that families have when they only get to see distant family members every year. There was not really a lesson about the book, or a difficulty along the way. This story was just a nice ...more
Ally Copper
"The Relatives Came" by Cynthia Rylant is a feel-good story about a family that simply delights in getting together for a reunion that lasts for weeks and weeks. A group of relatives travel up from Virginia to an undisclosed location to stay with family. Readers are awash in the love the members of this big extended family feel for each other. At one point, the narrator says, "You'd have to go through at least four different hugs to get from the kitchen to the front room." Lines like this are wh ...more
Nov 05, 2009 Michelle rated it really liked it
Shelves: catalog
In a rainbow-colored station wagon that smelled like a real car, the relatives came. When they arrived, they hugged and hugged from the kitchen to the front room. All summer they tended the garden and ate up all the strawberries and melons. They plucked banjos and strummed guitars. When they finally had to leave, they were sad, but not for long. They all knew they would be together next summer.
illustrated by Stephen Gammell_Anon

Potential Audience (Reading level): Transitional

Genre: Fic
Jessica Breighner
The Relatives Came
by, Cynthia Rylant
1. Brief Summary
This book is about a summer full of visiting from Relatives that live in Virginia. The book was very descriptive of what the family did. The family did things such as eat yummy food, play games, fix broken things, they had picnics, and also played music for weeks and weeks. Even though they were sad to leave at the end of the summer, they always new that next summer they would be doing it again.
2. Potential Audience
The book demonstrates a f
(NS) Panagiota Angelos
Oct 07, 2009 (NS) Panagiota Angelos rated it it was ok
Shelves: picture-books
The Relatives Came is a story about a family from Virginia who packs their bags and takes a summer trip to visit family. Upon arrival family members hug one another and are overfilled with joy to reunite. Their days are spent fixing broken things, gardening, eating strawberries and melons, and spending time together. When it is time to return home, they are sad and realize how much they will miss one another. However, the family is comforted by the fact they will see each other again next summer ...more
Cynthia ☮ ❤ ❀
Jul 03, 2013 Cynthia ☮ ❤ ❀ rated it really liked it
Shelves: children
Review: The Relatives Came by Cynthia Rylant, Stephen Gammel (Illustrator)

The Relatives Came by Cynthia Rylant, Stephen Gammel (Illustrator) is a great book for summer reading. This one was a "Mama Pick" rather than an "Irene Pick", but both of us enjoyed The Relatives Came by Cynthia Rylant.

The relatives of the story get up early one summer morning, and drive from their home in Virginia to their relatives home across the state. They literally move in with their relatives for the summer. Much
I'm sorry, but this one just wasn't very enjoyable for me. I'll chalk one up for it being a very SMELLY copy of the book. So hard for me to really enjoy a book when I'm wincing from awful odors. The pictures were a little confusing to me at times, but I think that was to go along with how much uproar comes with visiting families. I also couldn't help (at least at the beginning) wondering if they were saying something about Virginians. Maybe that's just me.

What I did like about the book is how m
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An author of fiction, nonfiction, and poetry for children and young adults as well as an author and author/illustrator of picture books for children, Cynthia Rylant is recognized as a gifted writer who has contributed memorably to several genres of juvenile literature. A prolific author who often bases her works on her own background, especially on her childhood in the West Virginia mountains, she ...more
More about Cynthia Rylant...

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