Reviews for Going Down Home with Daddy

by Kelly Starling Lyons

Copyright © Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.

A young boy ponders the perfect tribute to his great-grandma for their annual family reunion.This year everyone's prepared something special for Granny's anniversary celebration "down home"everyone except Lil Alan. As he considers what to give, Lil Alan's weekend is marked by memories connected to the land and his family, those who are still alive and ancestors that have passed on. Ultimately, he gifts an object lesson that emphasizes the legacy of love that brings them together as a "mighty family." Imagery is presented in marvelous metaphors ("I watch as we drive from city streets to flowing highways under a sweep of sparkling stars"), while lighthearted ribbing (" Got a head just like your daddy,' Uncle Jay teases me") and soul food ( "smoked turkey, mac and cheese, okra and tomatoes, and biscuits oozing mayhaw jelly"yum) set the scene for a celebration of myriad African-American and family traditions. Minter's acrylic-wash prints soar as stenciled cotton bolls, okra, and pecans dot the pages alongside images of family members in sepia and blue-black hues. One striking spread details silhouettes of Lil Alan, Sis, and Momma layered on top of one another, same eyes, lips, and textured hair and same reunion T-shirt imprinted with a simple, familiar, deeply rooted tree.A warm, loving, necessary reminder of the power in families coming together. (Picture book. 4-11) Copyright Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.

Book list
From Booklist, Copyright © American Library Association. Used with permission.

Lil' Alan and his African American family arise before dawn for the drive down home to Granny's house for a reunion. They arrive to hugs from Granny, a parade of extended kin, and a quick trip around the farm on Granny's tractor. Tradition dictates that everyone contributes something to the celebration a song, a poem, a scrapbook but Alan agonizes, unsure what he should share. Lyons' lyrical text recounts a heartfelt story of family love, shared history, and connection to a place that binds everyone together. Minter's acrylic wash illustrations transmit a dreamy quality that conveys the deep respect family members share with one another. Blue washes are employed for the most reverent scenes, depicting dinnertime grace, memories of the now departed patriarch Pa, and Alan's heartfelt speech acknowledging the iconic elements that symbolize family for him. Also effective is Minter's use of intricately designed patterns that grace clothing, Granny's chickens, and layered images depicting cotton plants, garden areas, and a church. A tribute to families and the components that connect them.--Kay Weisman Copyright 2019 Booklist

Publishers Weekly
(c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

In a lushly illustrated tribute to family history, an African-American boy and his family take their annual trip to his great-grandmother's farm for a reunion. The pivotal event is a family celebration during which each individual performs. Lil Alan's cousins have their presentations prepared-one cousin will read a Langston Hughes poem, another will share a scrapbook "in Granny's favorite color blue." Alan, though, is stumped: "I kick a stone and my eyes start to burn." But as he internalizes the energy of the farm, tastes "love-made dishes," and enjoys family, the words come: "Cotton for the quilts Granny made to keep her children warm... A pecan for the trees Pa planted and all the kids love to climb." Lyons's image-rich prose and Minter's powerful acrylics-rendered in shadowy blues and fiery shades-convey a sense of historical struggle alongside cherished tradition while capturing the experience of performance jitters. Ages 4-8. (Apr.) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.

Horn Book
(c) Copyright The Horn Book, Inc., a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

Lil Alan and his family are heading "down home" to the farm where Daddy was raised. Although Alan is excited to see his family, he's nervous about what to share at the celebration. With his family's help, Alan finds the right words to say. This relatable story of a multigenerational family reunion is strengthened by the acrylic-wash paintings, mixed with African symbols, of the family gathering. (c) Copyright 2019. The Horn Book, Inc., a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

School Library Journal
(c) Copyright Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

Gr 2-5-Inspired by the author's family heritage and traditions, this title follows an African American family as they travel "down home" for a family reunion. Lil' Alan is excited to see his extended family and visit his great-grandma and her farm but is anxious about how he might contribute to the celebration. Sis is planning to sing Granny's favorite song, and cousin Isaiah will read a poem by Langston Hughes, but what can Lil' Alan do? As he goes on a tractor ride, enjoys "love-made" family meals, attends church services, and listens to his father and other relatives share memories and ruminate on the importance of family, Lil' Alan realizes that the answer is in the precious family land, the gifts of which he uses in a heartfelt tribute to his family and its roots. Minter's illustrations, rendered in an acrylic wash, work in beautiful harmony with Lyons's joyful portrait of a deeply loving multigenerational family. Carefully layered images, patterns, and textures reinforce the narrative links between family history, American history, ancestral land and nature, and the bonds of family: "When we go down home with Daddy, everything we see holds a piece of him and us." VERDICT Readers will enjoy this moving celebration of familial love, history, and tradition. Highly -recommended.-Lauren Strohecker, McKinley Elementary School, Elkins Park, PA Copyright 2019. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.