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The Relatives Came

4.21  ·  Rating details ·  14,105 Ratings  ·  572 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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Feb 16, 2016 rated it really liked it
I enjoyed this sweet story about a group of demonstrative relatives visiting family in the summer. It has an old-fashioned feel and lots of great details in both the storytelling and the illustrations. Cynthia Rylant is one of my favorites and I appreciated all the details in the illustrations that added so much to the story. Rylant has such a way of putting things. I loved, for example, the family all sleeping on the floor together, and how it was kind of hard to sleep with all that extra brea ...more
May 01, 2010 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
May 22, 2016 rated it really liked it
I love this book! It is one I have read and reread. I love the warm and happy reunion of reminds me a great deal of our annual visits from AZ (where we lived) to Utah (where my maternal grandparents lived). Or even of family gatherings at my paternal grandparents' home. We lived very close to my paternal grandparents but some of my aunts, uncles and cousins didn't and so when they would come to visit, we would all gather at my grandparents to visit and hug and play. (But we wouldn't ...more
NS Kelley
Oct 27, 2009 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
Rachel Kinney
Jan 28, 2017 rated it liked it
Shelves: kidlit
I read The Relatives Came for the realistic/contemporary book. The Relatives Came is about a family who has family members that travel to visit and stay for the whole summer. The story has a nice rhythm when reading it. I love the pictures and the way they make the families seem up beat and chaotic. When the relatives arrive, they hug and hug and hug until they go inside and hug some more. Then they sleep all over each other and the floor. I feel like this book is a very realistic representation ...more
Oct 18, 2008 rated it it was amazing
The first time I heard this book, I was in a class about using literature in the classroom, and our professor read it aloud to us. The lively illustrations enhance the story about relatives coming to visit, and it brings to mind my own childhood memories of visiting distant family. I like to read this book with my children at the open and close of summer vacation especially. It captures the anticipation of visiting loved ones and the satisfaction found in returning home.
Nov 02, 2016 rated it liked it
Read this in Kindergarten today and loved the illustrations -- no wonder it's a Caldecott book. The story itself was not that great, though.
3.5 out of 5
The colorful and comical artwork not only illustrates the story but also expands it:

The Relatives Came captures the joys of a big family reunion perfectly: all the hugging, talking, eating and slightly uncomfortable sleeping arrangements, as well as the emptiness of the house when the relatives finally leave. Ahh, I wish my relatives came...
Alex Baugh
The excitement of an anticipated visit from relatives living far away is almost of summertime tradition and Rylant understands this completely. Driving from Virginia in an old station wagon with an ice chest full of pop and bologna sandwiches, a carload of relatives drive all day and night to arrive at their destination, where they are heartily welcomed by…their relatives. After lots of hugs and even a few tears, the relatives go inside the house, welcomed with a big family style feast. And they ...more
Chris Go
Nov 01, 2013 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
Megan Denney
Sep 14, 2017 rated it liked it
The Relatives Came is a story about a family who packs up their station wagon from Virginia to visit relatives. It talks about how long they drove as well as the different scenery they saw on their way down. The relatives hugged each other for hours when they got their and then the hugging was followed by a big supper. The relatives weren't particular about where they slept. The relatives also helped while they stayed for weeks on ends. After a long visit, the relatives packed up their car and d ...more
Jul 20, 2012 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
Jun 19, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: picture-books
This is one of my all time favorite books. It should be found in every classroom library. It tells the story of a very memorable visit from some relatives. Stephen Gammell's Caldecott Honor winning pictures are vibrant and whimsical and give a feeling of fun to the story. The pictures by themselves could tell the story, but Cynthia Rylant's descriptive language makes you feel like you are there. You can really imagine all the hugging, eating and extra breathing in the house. I think this story w ...more
Jul 13, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: family requests
Shelves: family
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 6/9/15

Used with a PreK 4 class and they seemed entranced, one asked if we could read it again.
Dec 25, 2011 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.
Felicia Tidwell taylor
Dec 04, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Having family that visits can be either good or bad but at the end of the day they are still family.
Jun 10, 2013 rated it it was amazing
A lyrical, rollicking celebration of big family get togethers.
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.
Jun 29, 2016 rated it liked it
I loved the message about family reunions and cousins playing with each other. We love getting our extended family together for these very reasons.
Suzanne Moore
Sep 05, 2009 rated it it was amazing
In this story, one family is making a trip to visit another. It is told from the perspective of a family member on the receiving end of the visit, referring to the visitors as the relatives.
The artwork is illustrated with light shading using colored pencils of cool and warm colors. Overall the combination of the value and mixture of hues, gives the pictures a joyful mood. On closer examination, the artist’s use of color extends the text, by allowing the reader to imagine related scenes that are
Dec 19, 2017 rated it really liked it
A delightful feel good story about family. Reading this is like being wrapped up in one of the many hugs mentioned in this book!
Nicholas King
Dec 10, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: children-s-books
The Relatives Came is another great children's book of Cynthia Rylant's many works. Almost anyone who reads this book can relate to it in any way. When I read this book, i wouldn't say i directly connected with it. However, i've seen different movies and have known people who have had relatives come visit from far away. All their stories are similar in that they all just enjoy having family time together. Whether it's sleeping, eating dinner, or just sitting outside, they all seem to enjoy their ...more
Laura Molinario
Dec 11, 2017 rated it really liked it
Picture Book
Alexandra Topitzes
Reading Level: 2.6

Book Level/ Guided Reading Level: L

The Relatives Came is a Contemporary Realistic Fiction book which tells a sweet and highly relateable story about one families’ annual visit from their extended family in Virginia.

This book would be an exemplary read aloud for primary elementary grades at the beginning of the year to introduce a writer’s workshop where students will be writing narratives about their own experiences taking a road trip or visiting family over the summer. Here,
Katie Ewing
Nov 26, 2017 rated it it was amazing
This book is about a family from Virginia that went to visit family in a different state. They stayed for weeks and helped the family fix their house and work in their garden. The family slept in the beds, on the floors, and anywhere else they could find a spot. In the end they went back to Virginia and would not see the other family until the following summer when they made the trip to Virginia.
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
Oct 06, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Book Title: The Relatives Came by Cynthia Rylant

Short Description of the Book: In her book The Relatives Came, Rylant tells the story of relatives from Virginia who come to visit for a time over the summer and the experiences they shared with their family.

Focus: Strong endings: Rylant models a great example of a strong ending in her book The Relatives Came. She uses key terms such as “finally’ and gives specific details about the final events and ends with a tie to future events.

Teach: CCSS.EL
Megan O'Hea
Feb 11, 2017 rated it really liked it
Summary: This is the story about a family who takes off on a road trip and goes to visit their relatives. It describes the tale of their journey and the adventures that take place once they reach the family home. It describes the differences between the family being on their own and how things are when the whole family gets together, like sleeping, eating, and playing. The storyline is greatly enhanced with beautifully drawn, captivating illustrations. In addition, while still focusing on the pr ...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
Lisa Leland
Reading Level: 4

Summary: The Relatives Came is the story of an old-fashioned family reunion. The family hugs and laughs and enjoys big meals together. The house is filled with people and the chattering of people fills the air and as everyone enjoys one another. The relatives are sad when it is time to leave but take comfort in knowing they will be come again next summer. Cynthia Rylant captures readers with her heartwarming story about relatives that come for an extended visit. Illustrated by St
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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...