Nine-year-old Mattie Butterfield is a bit of a worrier which is hardly surprising because when you have a big crazy family like hers there is always something to worry about. She’s upset that the tomato seeds that she and Lucinda planted at school and left in the dark won’t grow. She’s worried that Lucinda’s parents are getting a divorce and hers might too. She’s concerned that grandma doesn’t seem to like all of the Butterfield children. She’s anxious that the seeds in the vegetable patch won’t grow and that there’ll be no food for the family. That’s an awful lot to worry about and Mattie’s biggest worry of all is why has mum been to the doctor…
Mattie Butterfield narrates her life with her very ‘funny family’ in this sweet and relatable story of drama, fun and plenty of everyday situations that every child will recognise. Often funny, occasionally serious and sometimes a little bit sad (much like real life is), My Funny Family perfectly captures the highs and lows of family life, especially when you’re a child trying to making sense of the often confusing conversations and actions of adults. Mattie quite often doesn’t fully understand exactly what is going on which results in a lot of worrying. However, what shines through is the lovely message that things have a way of working themselves out in the end.
The quirky and loving Butterfield's are an absolute delight, with several of the children, including the dog, named after famous artists - there’s Mattie’s art-loving dad to thank for that. All readers will see elements of their own family reflected; bossy younger sister V is a little firecracker who could explode at a moments notice, affectionally known as Stanika, youngsters Stanley and Anika are joined at the hip, Grandma has her precious ‘standards’ and then there’s Uncle Vesuvius, the big, friendly, belching uncle that we all love.
Chris Higgins isn’t afraid to touch on some of life’s big issues either. It is important that children understand that life isn’t always rainbows and butterflies and Higgins gently addresses unemployment, divorce, death, new borns and overbearing relatives, providing the perfect platform for further discussion.
The first in a series of highly accessible, illustrated early chapter books is sure to be a hit with the whole family.
Recommended for 6+.