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Russell Wrestles the Relatives

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Everyone loves family reunions. Well everyone except Russell, whose family of big, brawny, and boisterous wrestlers has him on the run in this vibrant celebration of what it means to be a family. When the Relatives Came meets Wrestlemania in debut author Cindy Chambers Johnson’s rollicking picture book about a family reunion with a most colorful cast of characters—from Lorr Everyone loves family reunions. Well everyone except Russell, whose family of big, brawny, and boisterous wrestlers has him on the run in this vibrant celebration of what it means to be a family. When the Relatives Came meets Wrestlemania in debut author Cindy Chambers Johnson’s rollicking picture book about a family reunion with a most colorful cast of characters—from Lorry and Tory (the Twin Tornadoes) to Cousin Cora “The Cleaner” to Uncle “el monstruo” Marcoy. Family reunions mean lots of hugging, handshaking, and hair tousling. And Russell’s relatives? Well, they are more…enthusiastic than most. BIGGER than most. BRAWNIER than most. They’re wrestlers! Skinny and scrawny Russell will have to meet, greet, and defeat this clan with some spectacular moves of his own!


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Everyone loves family reunions. Well everyone except Russell, whose family of big, brawny, and boisterous wrestlers has him on the run in this vibrant celebration of what it means to be a family. When the Relatives Came meets Wrestlemania in debut author Cindy Chambers Johnson’s rollicking picture book about a family reunion with a most colorful cast of characters—from Lorr Everyone loves family reunions. Well everyone except Russell, whose family of big, brawny, and boisterous wrestlers has him on the run in this vibrant celebration of what it means to be a family. When the Relatives Came meets Wrestlemania in debut author Cindy Chambers Johnson’s rollicking picture book about a family reunion with a most colorful cast of characters—from Lorry and Tory (the Twin Tornadoes) to Cousin Cora “The Cleaner” to Uncle “el monstruo” Marcoy. Family reunions mean lots of hugging, handshaking, and hair tousling. And Russell’s relatives? Well, they are more…enthusiastic than most. BIGGER than most. BRAWNIER than most. They’re wrestlers! Skinny and scrawny Russell will have to meet, greet, and defeat this clan with some spectacular moves of his own!

30 review for Russell Wrestles the Relatives

  1. 4 out of 5

    Becky

    First sentence: There was only one day left until Russell's family reunion. Everyone was excited. Everyone except Russell. Family reunions meant lots of hugging, hand shaking, and hair tousling. And Russell's relatives? Well, they were a bit more...enthusiastic than most. Premise/plot: Russell is WORRIED. He comes from a long line of WRESTLERS. Everyone in his extended family is a wrestler, and, well, Russell doesn't have the moves--at least not yet. How can he survive all the hugging and affecti First sentence: There was only one day left until Russell's family reunion. Everyone was excited. Everyone except Russell. Family reunions meant lots of hugging, hand shaking, and hair tousling. And Russell's relatives? Well, they were a bit more...enthusiastic than most. Premise/plot: Russell is WORRIED. He comes from a long line of WRESTLERS. Everyone in his extended family is a wrestler, and, well, Russell doesn't have the moves--at least not yet. How can he survive all the hugging and affection when everyone is so big, and so strong?! Russell needs a plan. Will Russell survive his family reunion without injury?! My thoughts: This one was very playful. I really loved the narrative. The language in this one is just fun and joyful. Russell's granddaddy was the Texas Tickler. He'd been perfecting his famous Texas Ticklehold for the better part of a century. The only wrestler who could beat him was Russell's grammy, Dorothy the Dropper, with her Kansas Crusher. Everyone of Russell's aunts, uncles, and cousins was a wrestler. They were sure to greet him with humongous hugs and Herculean handshakes. I loved the text. I wasn't as thrilled with the illustrations. But overall I really liked this one...so much more than I thought I would. Text: 5 out of 5 Illustrations: 3 out of 5 Total: 8 out of 10

  2. 4 out of 5

    Melissa Stoller

    What a clever book...from the title to all the wordplay...and the terrific ending, this debut picture book is a winner!

  3. 3 out of 5

    Nina

    Russell is not the biggest or the toughest member of his brawny wrestling family. When the family reunion begins, Russell discovers that he has moves of his own that take even the most formidable members of his family by surprise. A cute story about rolling with the punches and finding your own way (review from an advanced reader's copy).

  4. 5 out of 5

    Kelly

    Woohoo a picture book for kids who love wrestling!

  5. 4 out of 5

    Tina Cho

    Cindy Chambers Johnson’s Russell Wrestles the Relatives is a cute picture book perfect for those family reunions when everyone wants to hug and kiss the kids. Russell feels scrawny compared to his humongous relatives and their strong grasps, but Russell has a move that outsmarts them all. Readers will enjoy Cindy’s action packed text and Daniel Duncan’s fun illustrations.

  6. 3 out of 5

    Brandy

    Very cute story about Russell and his wrestling family, great for fans of the wrestling world but good for all kids.

  7. 5 out of 5

    Jessie Oliveros

    This book is hysterical! Russell will do anything to get away from his wrestling-loving relatives. As each is introduced by way of their signature move and wrestling name, Russell tries to escape. His facial expressions are a hoot. In the end, Russell outsmarts them with his own moves, surprising and pleasing everyone. Family is at the heart of this book. The illustrations give each relative such a unique (humorously exaggerated) personality. But their love for Russell is palpable. The last few This book is hysterical! Russell will do anything to get away from his wrestling-loving relatives. As each is introduced by way of their signature move and wrestling name, Russell tries to escape. His facial expressions are a hoot. In the end, Russell outsmarts them with his own moves, surprising and pleasing everyone. Family is at the heart of this book. The illustrations give each relative such a unique (humorously exaggerated) personality. But their love for Russell is palpable. The last few pages are the best! Wrestling lingo is sprinkled throughout, making this a fun read aloud.

  8. 5 out of 5

    Margaret

    This is a fun readaloud even for those who don't know wrestling. Russell is dreading his family reunion because his family are all big, brawny, overenthusiastic wrestlers which mean lots of overly squeezy handshakes and hugs. Anyone who's ever gotten an unwanted hug will relate to Russell's problem and I loved how Russell slowly grows confident in handling his overzealous relatives throughout the story.

  9. 3 out of 5

    Heather

    In this book Russell is super anxious about the family reunion when he's going to be pinched, squeezed, kicked and thwacked by a bunch of relatives who he doesn't want to touch him. Instead of discussing consent, Russell triumphs by learning how to slither, duck, shout, etc. Which is one sort of victory I guess. The ideas in this book are dated AF, which is a shame because the illustrations are cute. Not recommended.

  10. 3 out of 5

    Christy

    This book is smart and clever and will resonate with kids whose bigger and physically demonstrative relatives can feel overwhelming. It makes good use of wrestling terms throughout, sure to amuse fans of wrestling, and the illustrations of the colorful family members are over-the-top fun. And the small protagonist's solution to his quandary is wonderful.

  11. 5 out of 5

    Jen Betton

    This book is a hoot! The story concept and language are both sooo fun! Russell's relatives are wrestlers, and he is not happy about the prospect of experiencing their various squeezes and holds - until he develops a few moves of his own! The wordplay here is quite delightful, and the illustrations expressive.

  12. 4 out of 5

    Kate Narita

    You'll definitely want to add this book to your family book basket. Sweet like Cynthia Rylant's THE RELATIVES CAME and fun like Margie Palatini's MOOSEKITOS, this family reunion will have readers laughing out loud. The language is super fun and reminds me of one of my favorite books THE FOOT-STOMPING ADVENTURES OF CLEMENTINE SWEET by Kitty Griffin and Kathy Combs.

  13. 5 out of 5

    Viviane Elbee

    Fans of wrestling & family reunions would enjoy reading this book. The kids laughed and laughed at the relatives and their nicknames - "Texas Tickler" & "Iron Arm" & "the Pincher" to name a few. They voted to give this book 5 stars.

  14. 4 out of 5

    Tara Luebbe

    This is a brilliant take on those relatives who pinch your cheeks, hug too hard etc. Children with big families will surely relate. Adorable illustrations add lots of fun details in the backgrounds and humor.

  15. 3 out of 5

    Michelle Cusolito

    Poor scrawny Russell was born to a family of wrestlers. How will he survive the family reunion when his larger than life family arrives and tries to hug, hand-shake and tousle his hair? I love the way the words and pictures work together in this book.

  16. 5 out of 5

    Beth Anderson

    This book is a winner with its super kid point of view. The combination of terrifically fun language and hilarious illustrations is totally irresistible. Perfect for every child who’s been pinched and squeezed and tousled by over exuberant relatives!

  17. 3 out of 5

    Peacegal

    3.5 stars -- Laugh-out-loud funny twist on the "meet the relatives" genre. Kids who are wrestling fans especially will flock to it.

  18. 5 out of 5

    Emyrose8

    3.5- Ha! Didn’t expect it to end that way. Cute!

  19. 4 out of 5

    Sarah Lynne

    A fun book with a tongue-twisting title. My kids enjoyed all of the wacky relatives - they kept flipping back to the gallery wall at the beginning to compare who was who.

  20. 4 out of 5

    Annese

    This is so cute. We need more wrestling stories.

  21. 5 out of 5

    Lindsey

    As an introvert, I can feel overwhelmed and smothered by relatives who only mean well. This book addresses it in such a funny way!

  22. 5 out of 5

    Emily

    Cute. Nice story for wrestling storytime or relatives. Fun to read for the K or PST

  23. 3 out of 5

    Kerri Kokias

    In this humorous, tongue-twister of a story little Russell dreads his reunion with his extended family who are literally wrestlers- until he learns he has champion defensive moves.

  24. 3 out of 5

    Jeanne R. Tjaden

    Entertaining Great choice of words and story describing the various ways many relatives treat young children when greeting them at family reunions!

  25. 5 out of 5

    Aidan

    A wild cast of characters support this wonderful “if you can’t beat them, join them” tale. Great illustrations in a fun story!

  26. 3 out of 5

    Hannah Holt

    A book about finding your place in a family with big personalities (and muscles!). Playful language and humorous illustrations makes this a delightful read.

  27. 3 out of 5

    molliekay

    A big (in more ways than one) family whose members don't understand the meaning of consent.

  28. 4 out of 5

    Emily Childress-Campbell

  29. 5 out of 5

    Benjamin Elliott

  30. 4 out of 5

    Sara Grochowski

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