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3.99  ·  Rating details ·  465 ratings  ·  95 reviews
Donald Crews, the Caldecott Honor artist and award-winning creator of Freight Train, Truck, and many other classic picture books for young children, writes of his own childhood experiences visiting his grandparents in Florida. Share this book at home or in the classroom. Everyone will enjoy the memories of a perfect day in the country, exploring and playing, and the connec ...more
Paperback, 40 pages
Published January 21st 1998 by Greenwillow Books (first published 1991)
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Average rating 3.99  · 
Rating details
 ·  465 ratings  ·  95 reviews

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May 26, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Adults will probably enjoy this one more than children as Crews remembers his wonderful summer days spent at his grandmother's house. You can almost hear the cicadas buzz as he and his siblings explore, go fishing, and stargazing.

This brought back magical memories of my own youth when my mantra was eat and play, do it again the next day.
Jan 10, 2020 rated it really liked it
Recently our library system had a tremendous training on diversity in our children's programming - living in a part of the country that is pretty much "white", I admit that I tend to stick to that which our community is familiar with, although more often than not, I do use story time books whose characters are animals, that being said, I am going to make a much more concentrated effort to include more diverse books at story times...

This one just popped off the shelf at me yesterday. It now sits
Teonna Taylor
I enjoyed the story line of an older male reminiscing on the summer he and his family would have while visiting his big mama. It made me think of the joy and wonder I had as a child when we visited our family in Texas and the stories my mom would tell of her childhood with Big Mama.
Illustrations did not do well in bringing life to this story.
Feb 17, 2018 marked it as t  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2018t
I first came across this on a Facebook post about Black History Month. T has two of the author's other books, Truck and School Bus, and he liked this one too!

V's Review

Young Donald Crews visits his grandparents and takes comfort in the constancy of family.

Readers who live far from grandparents and extended family may identify with the author as he describes his trip to visit his grandmother. Crews emphasizes how happy he and his siblings are to visit and see that everything stays the same from y
Peyton Cox
Jan 16, 2021 rated it it was amazing
Donald Crews did a good job on setting the tone and time period that this book took place in. The imagery went perfectly with every detail that was being described on the page. The wording also gave me a look into how they spoke overall as a family. The ending was a huge turn with it ending up being one of the children reminiscing on his childhood summers at his “big mamas”.
Courtney Dyer
A departure from Crews’ typical writing style comes a nostalgic, evocative story about another summer’s visit to bigmama’s house told from the perspective of a child. Trading in his vibrant illustrations for a more realistic style, Crews uses watercolor and gouache paints in rich earth tones paired with soft lines to bring this memorable childhood experience to life.

“Every summer we went to see her- Mama, my sisters, my brother, and me.” They rode the train for 3 days to Cottondale, Florida to v
Mar 26, 2014 rated it it was ok
I totally disagree with the rating I just gave Bigmama's. Before people start to think that I have some sort of personality disorder, let me explain. I thought Bigmama's was a great book. It was about the times that Donald Crews spent on his grandparents Florida farm when he and his siblings were kids. The story was told in spare, uncomplicated language, but it was clear that Crews holds these memories close to his heart.

My niece, however, wasn't overly impressed with this book, and my six yea
Rachael LaRochelle
Jan 17, 2013 rated it it was amazing
I enjoyed Big Mama's. It is about a family who takes a trip to their grandparent’s house every summer. They take a three day train ride to Cottondale, where their grandparents live. They are picked up by their Uncle Slank, who takes them out to Big Mama’s farm. Big Mama’s farm never changes. They spend the summer playing with their cousins and friend the farm. At night, all the relatives have dinner together and enjoy gazing up at the million stars in the sky.
It reminded me of going to my Grandp
Oct 14, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Bigmama's is a story about the memories of Donald Crews going with his family to visit his grandparents in Florida. The children call the Grandparents Bigmama and Bigpapa and they lived on a rural farm with a pond. It is easy to relate to the story for most children because they visit grandparents and although the visits may differ the relationships within the family are similar and give the children a feeling of belonging to the family. The children in my preschool room love Bigmama's and love ...more
Feb 03, 2016 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: childrens
This book would be good for teaching about setting. In fact, that's pretty much all that the book is about. It talks about Bigmama's house and describes it inside and out. Nothing really happens other than they travel to her house, walk around it and have dinner. I found it boring since there's no problem (and thus no climax or solution), but my mother found it fun because you can see that the children are enjoying the country life style. ...more
Jul 05, 2011 rated it really liked it
Shelves: younger-kids
This is about a trip to grandma's house. The illustrations were wonderful. The story could have been a little better. It goes into too much about the various rooms of the house. It would have been better if it had talked about the characters themselves more. The last page, though, was brilliant. ...more
Jan 14, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Bigmama's is a book written by Donald Crew. As the children take a three day train trip to the country to visit their grandparents for the summer, they are united with their families and cousins and are are reminded of how things at grandma's house never change. The is a great book for preschoolers up through age 8. A great book for any young children to reflect upon their summer days. ...more
Goshen PL Childrens
Dec 15, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: staff-reads-2017
Donald Crews recalls visiting his grandmother (Bibmama) and grandfather (Bigpapa) as a child. After a three day train trip, his family arrives. The kids take off their shoes and socks; they won't need them much in the next few weeks. He describes all the wonderful, unchanging, old fashioned things at Bigmama's - kerosene lamps, a treadle sewing machine, the well, water pump, and chicken house. And the outhouse - okay now, but scary in the dark. The house, the porches, and the stability of knowin ...more
Apr 16, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Cathy by: Author Biographies week in the library
Four African American children travel with their mother, and when the train arrives in Cottondale, Florida, the summer at Bigmama's house begins! Donald Crews brilliantly evokes the sights, sounds, and emotions of a memorable childhood experience. Beautifully and richly illustrated, this is a wonderful choice for family reading and classroom sharing.

Donald Crews, the Caldecott Honor artist and award-winning creator of many classic picture books for young children, writes of his own childhood ex
A tribute to the trips "back home" many black families took, and still take, every summer, Bigmama's by Donald Crews had me knee-deep in nostalgia for days spent running after my cousins and nights sleeping on a pallet on the floor in my Granna's living room, surrounded by the same. The artwork is dated (kerosene lamps, a wind-up record player), but the feeling evoked by the storytelling is not - I still fondly remember heading to my grandparents' to play outside until it was time to come inside ...more
K.C. Gardner
Jul 28, 2020 rated it really liked it
Shelves: childrens
This fun story is about Donald Crews and his family visiting his grandparents in the summer when he was a child. The setting is very rural. Crews narrates the story in the style of a child, talking about how everything in his grandparent’s house stayed the same year after year. This story has appeal for both children and adults. The text tells the story but the pictures add to the feel of staying in the summer on an old farm. The watercolor and gouache paintings show a family sharing all things. ...more
Jun 13, 2022 rated it really liked it
Genre: Fiction
Grade Level: Lower or Upper Elementary (K-3)

I thought this was a sweet book about a boy reminiscing on a summer when he went to visit his grandmother. I could not relate to most of the boy's experiences in this book, however I really enjoyed reading about them. While I could not relate to them, it is possible that some of my students could. I think it is important to learn about cultures and traditions different to our own. I also really enjoyed how colorful and detailed the illust
Cheryl struggles to catch up
Apr 01, 2021 rated it really liked it
LFL find.
Hard to date from picture clues. My grandma (white, Wisconsin) lived on a farm with about this level of development until the 1970s. And the comfortable way the family interacts with the white train conductor doesn't speak to the Jim Crow era.

But Crews was born in 1938, and this was an homage to his childhood, so obviously it does take place in the late 4os or early 50s. And the book was first published in 1991. Fwiw.

The main theme is not history so much, but family. Don't miss the las
Jillian Anderson
Mar 07, 2021 rated it really liked it
Shelves: picture-books
Read this one right before summer break to get a discussion going about summer plans. This story is about the kids going to visit their grandparents in the summer. Ordinary summer days that make them extraordinary now as memories. Could be paired with Two Boys Have the Best Summer Ever or When I Was Young in the Mountains.
Sam Dawson
Bigmama's was a book about children visiting their family for the summer. The visit revolves around playing with the animals, being outside, and the family being together. It's a good book to read to children to show them that electronics aren't everything and that fun is possible without them. ...more
Lynn  Davidson
May 28, 2019 rated it really liked it
A young boy, with his mother, sisters, and brother, travelled by train every year to spend the summer with their grandparents - Bigmama and Bigpapa - and their extended family. It was a fun time in the country where nothing seemed to change, just the way they liked it.
Chui Ying
Another book about diversity to add to the school library. A story about an African-American family going on a train to visit their grandmother in Florida. A good book to introduce racial diversity and the commonality of the human experience to young readers.
Mar 17, 2021 rated it it was amazing
So many of my kids at my story times could relate to this story as many had family in the south that they went to visit. Others could relate as they visited grandparents in the Caribbean and visited yearly. Great, bold illustrations.
Hannah Klumb
Nov 20, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: diversity
Such a well written and illustrated book that a lot of people can relate to.
Aug 23, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Mellanie C
Nov 20, 2019 rated it it was amazing
This book reminded of summers with my granny.
Apr 01, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Great story!
Lynn Wyvill
May 24, 2020 rated it really liked it
A sweet book with delightful illustrations. Not so much a story, as memories of summer visits to grandma's house on a farm. Loved the ending, which was a surprise. ...more
Aug 06, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorites
One of my favorite books as a kid.
Samir Kagadkar
May 26, 2021 rated it it was ok
Very dated.
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Donald Crews (born August 30, 1938) is an American illustrator and writer of children's picture books. In 2015, the American Library Association (ALA) honored him with the Laura Ingalls Wilder Medal, recognizing his lasting contribution to children's literature. Common subjects of his include modern technology (especially travel vehicles), and childhood memories. His stories often include few huma ...more

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