Read Bigmama's by Donald Crews Online


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.Four African American children travel with their mother, and when the train arrives in Cottondale, Florida, the summer at Bigmama's house begins! DonDonald 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.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. "A very special book by a superb artist and storyteller."—The Horn BookSupports the Common Core State Standards...

Title : Bigmama's
Author :
Rating :
ISBN : 9780688158422
Format Type : Paperback
Number of Pages : 40 Pages
Status : Available For Download
Last checked : 21 Minutes ago!

Bigmama's Reviews

  • Melki
    2019-04-18 21:37

    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.

  • V
    2019-04-19 16:26

    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 ReviewYoung 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 year to year. The extended family comes together for a meal at the end of the book, but everyone is so excited to see one another that they barely eat. Reading this book to T called to mind childhood visits to my grandparents who lived half a country away, and it left me feeling happy.T's Review(age 3 years)After reading:V: Where does he [the narrator, Donald] go?T: He goes to his grandma's.V: Are you kind of like the boy in here? Why?T: Yeah. Cuz I go to my grandma's.V: His cousin comes from down the road. Do you have a cousin who comes? What do you do when you are at your grandma's?T: G. Play with him.V: How did this book make you feel?T: Happy.V: Will you show me your favorite pages?T: This is my favorite page...cuz of all the colors...This is my favorite...I just like it.(First T showed the colorful endpaper and then he showed the page where Donald's family rides the train.)V: Who would this be a good book for? Why?T: G. Because he is a happy little boy.

  • Courtney Dyer
    2019-04-06 16:32

    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 visit Bigmama. Nothing ever changed- the wind-up record player, the kerosene lamps, the backyard chicken coop- everything was just the same. Bigmama’s is a sweet recollection of author Donald Crews’ childhood summers spent at his grandma’s house. I couldn’t help but make the connection with my own childhood summers spent visiting my grandparents in Cocoa Beach. To this day my grandparents still live in the same house along the river and not much has changed as far back as I can remember. As a teacher, this story is a great addition to any author study on Donald Crews. It also makes for a great mentor text when teaching young writers how to add details to paint a better picture in their reader’s mind. This book is perfect for children ages 4-8.

  • Amy
    2019-04-14 16:27

    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 year old nephew proclaimed it, "Boringest. Book. Ever." This is probably an exaggeration, because I'm pretty sure that I've read "the boringest book ever," and this wasn't it. That said, even my sister didn't care for the story, or even for the illustrations of the people in the book.So, it seems that my family and I don't see eye to eye here. Maybe I'm just more sentimental than the other people in my family. Or maybe they are the crazy ones.

  • Rachael LaRochelle
    2019-04-15 22:44

    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 Grandparents house every Sunday for Sunday dinner. Except they did not live on a farm, they lived off the 405 in West. L.A. Just like in the story, nothing ever changed at my Grandparents and my whole family was always there every Sunday. It was an unspoken rule that unless your foot fell off, you were not to miss Sunday dinners at Grandma's house. To this day those Sunday dinners are some my fondest memories.

  • Jane
    2019-03-24 20:36

    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 to share when they visit grandparents.

  • SaraLaLa
    2019-04-11 20:20

    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.

  • Kelly
    2019-04-17 20:20

    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.

  • Goshen PL Childrens
    2019-03-29 21:38

    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 knowing that it will always be the same brought back fond memories of summer visits to my own grandmother' house. I especially love the book's last page - the author as an adult looking out a city window: "Some nights even now, I think that I might wake up in the morning and be at Bigmama's with the whole summer ahead of me."

  • Sam Dawson
    2019-04-17 19:23

    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.

  • Hannah Klumb
    2019-04-06 14:45

    Such a well written and illustrated book that a lot of people can relate to.

  • Elizabeth Daly
    2019-04-17 15:34

    Title: Bigmama’sAuthor: Donald CrewsIllustrator (if separate from author): Donald CrewsGenre: K-2 biographyTheme(s): summer, family, travelingOpening line/sentence: “Did you see her?”Brief Book Summary: Bigmama’s is the story of how Donald Crews, the author, spent his childhood summers traveling with his family by train to stay with his grandma or “bigmama” at her house in Cottondale, Florida. Every year when Donald Crews and his family would stay with his bigmama, everything was always exactly the same and him and his brothers and sisters loved exploring his grandparents house and farm once again. Professional Recommendation/Review #1: Marilyn Courtot (Children's Literature) The family is heading out for its annual summer trip to Bigmama's. The name honors her place in the family as a grandmother, not her size. The farm, which is set in Cottondale somewhere in the south, has no running water or air conditioning. The kids hunt for eggs, dig worms for fishing, and have a great time. The best part of all are the evenings when the extended family gathers together to catch up on their respective lives and to enjoy each others company. It is a celebration of a quieter time, and a celebration of family.Professional Recommendation/Review #2: Kirkus (Kirkus Reviews, 1991) Beginning with the ride on the old Southern Railway car ("colored" says the sign on the wall), the sights, sounds, and warm delights of a summer visit to Grandma in Crews's own childhood--a three-clay trip from somewhere up north. Lovingly, Crews explores the old homestead through the eyes of the four returning kids; though light comes from a kerosene lamp, and water from the well, Grandma's place is spacious and well kept, and there's a barn, a stable, eggs to look for, and "plenty of water for fishing and swimming." Best, the whole family gathers--"We talked so much we hardly, had time to eat." Crews captures both the children's joy and enthusiasm and his own nostalgia in a nicely understated text and, especially, in his wonderfully evocative illustrations. Adopting a more realistic style than he used in his two Caldecott Honor books, Crews nicely accommodates the many period details with a subtle palette that emphasizes browns and greens to convey a richly sensory experience. A grand alternative to the plethora of predictable books about white kids visiting grandparents on stereotypical family farms.Response to Two Professional Reviews: Something I found very interesting from Marilyn Courtot’s review was how she discussed the importance of no running water or air conditioning in the story, I found this interesting because this was never actually addressed or explicitly stated in the story and something children might not catch on to. I also appreciated how Kirkus discussed how this was not a stereotypical book about a white family visiting their grandparents. All of the characters in this text are African American, except the white conductor on the train. I also liked how Kirkus emphasized the illustrations, these illustrations were so detailed and you can really tell that he was expressing his love for his grandmother’s house and the things he found most important through the pictures on the page. Evaluation of Literary Elements: This story has a very simple plot that allows a young reader to easily follow along and relate to a trip to their own grandparents house. Something that I found disturbing was how the only white character in the novel was in a power position; he was in charge as the conductor of the train and he always appeared bigger than Donald Crew’s family. In relation to Molly Bang, many of the African Americans in the story were wearing red, which expresses danger; this was surprising to me because the author is African American himself. This biography was told in first person, which allowed the reader to understand the story better and empathize with the author; this is something I would point out to my students before reading this story to them. Consideration of Instructional Application: After reading this story to my class I would talk to my students about family and the different kinds of families. Although, this was a very traditional family where the mother, father, and grandparents were all involved, I would also discuss different types of families, such as divorced and same-sex parents. As an activity, I would have the students make a family tree of either their own family or if they felt uncomfortable doing that, a famous persons family and where they lived. I would also have them find out what some of their family traditions are, just like Crews talked about staying with his grandparents for the summer.

  • Justine
    2019-03-22 20:21

    Title: Bigmama’sAuthor: Donald CrewsGenre: Biography K-2Theme(s): Family, love, reunion, Opening line/sentence: “Did you see her?”Brief Book Summary: Bigmama is mama’s mama. Everyone in the family travels together for 3 days and 2 nights on the train to visit bigmama and bigpapa. The children reminisce as they revisit each familiar room in the house as well as the back porch and nearby pond. The family finally reunites for the big dinner.Professional Recommendation/Review #1: Dr. Beverly Kobrin (Children's Literature) Artist/author Donald Crews lovingly portrays the halcyon summers of his youth, when his mom, brother, and sisters visited his Bigmama's (grandmother's) home in Cottondale, Florida. He recaptures the wonderful sense of freedom that comes with the shedding of shoes, the subsequent rush to renew acquaintance with every nook, cranny and creature around the farm after a long absence, and the marvelous family meals where uncles, aunts, cousins--the whole family--gathered to catch up after the year apart. Professional Recommendation/Review #2:Carolyn Phelan (Booklist, Nov. 15, 1991 (Vol. 88, No. 6)) In this celebration of childhood memories, Crews takes readers along on a trip his family made every summer to his grandparents' house in the country. The pages sing with his excitement during the long train ride and recount his satisfaction on arrival. The relatives, the house, the outbuildings, and the pond, everything "was just the same. . . . Everything was just as it should be." The last page, showing the artist as an adult against a cityscape at night, remembering those magical journeys to Bigmama's, draws all the remembrances together in a poignant conclusion. The ink-and-watercolor wash illustrations, using varying tone values for shaping, shading, and dramatic effect, differ from Crews' previous artwork with their flat colors in bold, crisp graphics, but this more diffuse style is well suited to the subject. A satisfying portrait of an extended family and a loving tribute to memories that defy the passage of time. Response to Two Professional Reviews: This book definitely captures the essence of family. The book as mentioned in both the reviews recaptures the emotions felt during a family reunion as a child. Anyone, regardless of race, can relate to it. I agree with Carolyn Phelan’s comment that “everything was just the same.” It brings back images of our own grandparents’ houses and the sights and emotions felt there each summer. The “portrait of an extended family” at the end definitely is a great way to give tribute to all the memories of not only the author/illustration, but also the readers.Evaluation of Literary Elements: The focus of this book was definitely the illustrations because the words were placed on the side of each page and they were very small in comparison to how big each page is. But in the long run, it’s not too much of a problem because again, the focus is the illustrations. Each scene is very relatable—the backyard, nearby pond, the living room, etc. Even though it’s not exactly like what we’ve personally scene, we all been to our grandmother’s house. We’ve been in the shoes of the characters. Consideration of Instructional Application: I think this is a great way to have a discussion about family traditions and cultures. First I would read the book and ask some basic questions like, “what is your favorite memory from your grandmother’s house?” After, I would have each student draw and write a short paragraph (3-5 sentences) about the experience. At the end of the class we will share a few.

  • Nicole Disilvestro
    2019-04-05 22:40

    1. This is a contemporary picture book.2. This is about a child visiting their Grandmother house. It is about all the different things in the Grandma’s house and all fun things that there are to do at the house and all the things that make it unique. 3. (A) I think this is a very accurate contemporary picture book. It has very accurate character because it has characters that a child could relate to. A lot of children spend time with their grandparents and aunts and uncles. The pictures were full of color and expression in this book.(B) I thought this was a very appropriate contemporary picture book. It has a plot that a lot of children could relate to. A lot of children can relate to going to their grandparents house and visiting family. I also think the style is very appropriate because the author uses very descriptive language and the book has a very child friendly voice.(C) I really liked at the end how the family is all sitting around the dinner table and the grandmother looks like she is going to serve food. I know I related to that illustration and I think a lot of younger readers could too. I think the illustrations in the book can help a reader visualize different things that they can relate to from reading the story. I think that is what makes this book such a great contemporary picture book. 4. I would really like to use this book in my future classroom. I loved the pictures and I loved how the story line is so relatable. I think that this book would be great to use in the classroom not only to get children to engage in reading but also because it think a lot of great dialogue and discussion could be created from this book.

  • Carl
    2019-04-13 20:21

    This wasn't a book I grew up with, published in 1991, but Donald Crews' memoir of visiting his grandmother's farm struck a personal note for me. The story begins with his family taking the train from the city to the farm was something I had done in my childhood. Well, my grandma didn't have a farm, but she lived in Iowa and I visited a farm while I was there. More so than that, I was very much taken by the grandmother's home. His depiction of her house and her old-timey possessions rang true of my own grandma's house. The pictures and words capture a moment frozen in time, exactly how I felt when I was a child, visiting my grandmother's house. I wonder how many of my students today experience the same feeling when they visit their grandparents? The family here is African American, which I am not, but I felt total access to the family. Crews' story is his story, yet it is shared for all to enjoy. His memories ring true for me. I think there are many connections to be made for a variety of children. Children who go away to visit relatives, city children visiting rural places, African American families, or simply children in general. I also appreciated the way Crews' brings the book to a close with himself reflecting on the experience as an adult. This book pulled at my heart.

  • Robert
    2019-03-24 22:18

    This book was purchased for the classroom library through CLI. Thereit has sat for two years. I do not recall any students reading it.We changed our curriculum mightily this year. As I searched for somematerials for a lesson the other day, I saw a reference to this book.I developed the lesson around it and read this to the students.The book is rich with description. Crews recalls vividly hisgrandmother's (BigMama) house that he vacationed at as a boy. Everyyear was exactly the same as he was wistful about his summers spent inthe deep south. One could really feel the setting he wrote. Theaccompanying illustrations were equally enticing.As rich as the descriptive writing was, there was no plot here. Thebook served as a wonderful example of how we can write about virtuallyanything, but to hold a reader's attention conflict is usuallyrequired. This provided no conflict.Even so, it is worth the quick read.

  • Jonathan Bodine
    2019-04-15 14:22

    Bigmama’s is a brief autobiography depicting author Donald Crew’s experience visiting his grandparent’s farm every summer. There is nothing but delightful childhood memories in this book. It emphasizes elements of childhood such as family, exploration, play, freedom, and summer. This book is extremely straightforward and that works to its favor. Reading a biography, I want to the experience, no editorializing is necessary. There is no need to pretty up the past. Crews provides the full emersion of his experiences on the farm just as we were visiting the farm for the first time with him and he was showing us around. The illustrations are full of positive emotion, a strong feature despite their relatively rough nature. I believe they portray an effective blend of farm life and childhood through this. I would recommend this book to be used for grades K through 2.

  • Megan Willis
    2019-04-03 19:38

    Donald Crews writes and illustrates a vivid memoir of his own childhood summers at his grandparents' house in Cottondale. The detailed illustrations really help to capture his descriptions about his time on the farm and how much fun he and his family had together. I can relate to this story, and I believe that many children can. We all have memories of our grandparents' homes and how we explored and played there. My favorite part was at the beginning when Donald and his family were taking the train to Cottondale. They were so filled with anticipation and excitement about seeing their Bigmama...not that she was big! This is a great read aloud. It promotes discussion about vacations and family traditions. It is good to keep in the classroom because the illustrations are so detailed that the children will be forever entertained looking through the story.

  • Paul
    2019-04-15 14:38

    This is Donald Crew's recalling of his childhood summers in Florida during the Jim Crow era when "colored" still were routed into separate rail cars, restrooms and areas of restaurants and movie theaters. But none of that era darkens the brightness of this story at the family farm with grandparents, uncles and aunts and cousins. These are the kinds of memories children deserve to grow up with and Crews' illustrations bring those to life for us and awaken or prompt memories for us readers too. Speaking of memories, it was nice to read the words, "'WHOO... WHOO..." The train whistle." They triggered a memory for me - reading Freight Train and getting to see my very young grandson enjoying it too.

  • Jennifer Velez
    2019-04-16 20:24

    This is a very nice book that I think a lot of the student's are going to be able to relate to because of the story. This book is about a little boy's family who goes every summer to his Grandma's house. He is very detailed in all his descriptions of how we got there. He is not only descriptive about how he got there, but also when it comes to describing his Grandma's house and the places surrounding. He describes using all his senses and as you read the book you can picture how it looked in your mind. This is a great book to teach students about imaging, about how an author with the words written on the book can take you to many places. This also would be a good invitation for the students to try this very detailed and descriptive writing on their own writing.

  • Shannon Stinnette
    2019-04-19 17:16

    I think this book is a beautiful read aloud. Students will be engaged by the use of colorful illustrations as well as descriptive text. This story would not be useful to teach story elements involving plot with a problem and solution. This story is the recollection of the character's youth, spending summers at his grandmother's house in the south. It is told with rich detail and tells of this character's fondest memories of youth. This story could be used in conjunction with a writing lesson teaching young writer's the use of voice and how their descriptions can allow for the reader to feel emotion with what they are reading. This book can also be a nice addition for an author study of Donald Crews.

  • Evan
    2019-04-03 17:18

    Donald Crews’ ‘Big Mama’s’ is an autobiographical piece of nostalgia about his childhood summers spent visiting his grandparents. The simple yet beautiful illustrations that accompany each page evoke emotions ranging from the thrill of seeing loved ones one rarely sees, to the expectations that usually complements such exciting journeys, to the wonder of an unknown future. The text is true-to-life and at an intermediate level, with sentences ranging from 5-10 words, and without too much complicated vocabulary. This is a good book for readers transitioning from more simple, decodable texts to narrative writing.

  • Sherry Thornberry
    2019-04-08 19:41

    This was a great story about going to grandmas house. It made me remember going to my grandmas as a child. But it was the opposite. I lived in the country but would spent a little time in town with my grandma in the summertime. I loved setting on her front porch and watching cars go by. We didn't get to do that at home. We lived way up on a hill off the road. Our road was gravel anyway and seldom traveled. My mom and dad still live in that house. Of course, the road has been paved and housed have been built and it not like the country anymore but its still not as crazy as town. Loved this book and its illustrations.

  • Rachel
    2019-03-31 17:18

    This is a beautiful picture book about family, but it isn't for every reader and is a departure from Crews' other work. His vivid artwork is still on display, but this is a reflective and semi-autobiographical piece about the ties that bind us and the power memory has to keep those feelings bright in our minds. Crews shares a story of visiting Bigmama, his grandmother's home, using rich detail and lavish images that stir the heart. For those who have a place like Bigmama's in their memory, this is a book that will pull you in. For those who didn't, it will show you what kind of home to make. Highly recommended.

  • Joanna
    2019-03-25 20:23

    Donald Crews, an African-American author, provides an authentic view of life in the children’s book Bigmama’s. He recalls a summer in Cottondale with Grandma Bigmama, “Not that she was big, but she was Mama’s Mama.” He recalls the kerosene lamps, the farm, looking for eggs, seeing chickens, drinking at the pump, hugs and kisses from Bigmama and Bigpapa, and other exciting things. It’s a step back from the technologically advanced world and an authentic portrayal of life in an African-American family, including positive associations to traits and traditions of this culture.

  • Children's Literature Project
    2019-04-01 15:19

    Grade Level Equivalent: 2.2Summary: Donald Crews' takes his readers back to a childhood summer spent at Bigmama's house in Florida. The author presents all the sensory details from his memories, and the colorful pictures enable the reader to visualize this beloved summer experience. Lesson Integration: This book has beautiful illustrations that tell the story of the author's life as much as the text. Students can be encouraged to make illustrations about the important events in their lives that will later be compiled into a book.

  • Alice
    2019-04-08 17:45

    3.75 starsI nice book about the summer a Bigmama's. It is cute. The book explains that Bigmama and Bigpapa are what they call their Grandma and Grandpa..It even says "It isn't because she is big it is that she is mama's mama." It is so cute. It is fun to see the kids having a fun barefoot carefree summer. I love the details of the things around Bigmama's house that the kids look for each year.

  • Michelle Higgins
    2019-04-06 14:45

    Bigmama's is the story of the author, Donald Crews, childhood visit to his grandparents' house. The book can be used in so many ways. I have used it in writing to show the descriptive language Crews uses. It can also be used to teach making connections. Everyone can relate to visiting your family for the summer. It can be used in Social Studies as well to teach students about different cultures and diversity.

  • Missmath144
    2019-03-31 22:33

    This delightful little book tells about a trip to Bigmama's place in the summer. Bigmama (I presume she was the author's own grandmother.) doesn't have electricity, so the book shows us what life was like with a peddle sewing machine, wind-up phonagraph, wind-up clock, water well, horse-drawn machines, etc. It takes me back to visits to our summer cabin and the homes of elderly friends. It is something I will want to share with my grandchildren.

  • Carole
    2019-04-11 14:16

    This is a nostalgic story for me; it reminds me of going to my grandmother's house, only her house was not as nice as Bigmama's.But much of what was in and around her house reminds me of my grandmother's house. She always had Moon Pies and Kool-Aid. Everyone drank out of the same dipper after you pulled the water out of the cistern with a bucket tied to a rope. She had a two-seater outhouse, which none of us kids wanted to use.