Grandparents’ Day is coming up on September 7th! In the spirit of the holiday, I thought I’d post reviews for a few books that honor grandparents. I think a fun idea would be to give a book as a gift to a grandparent for them to read and share with your child. Or, just get one (or all) for your kids, read with them, and then talk about the wonders of their own grandparents.
A wonderful story about a little girl’s love for her “hippie” Grandma and their fun relationship. I love the rhythm and rhyme of the text and the illustrations are colorful and eye-catching. Here’s a sample of the writing: “I have a hippie grandmother. I’m really glad she’s mine. She hasn’t cut her hair at all since nineteen sixty-nine.” Grandma drives a purple bus and has a cat named Woodstock, and the book depicts the pair doing all sorts of fun things together like going to the farmer’s market to sell organic vegetables. A great read, especially if your child has a “funky” grandmother! [ages 4-8]
This one might be a little more “controversial” for lack of a better word. This is a humorous look at all the shapes, sizes and personalities that grandmas come in. Unfortunately, some may consider the humor to be irreverent, bordering on disrespectful (for example: a granny is pictured in her bra and underwear, her bottom is described as “wobbly” and a grandma is shown doing exercises to “make her bottom smaller.”) That being said, I personally liked it and don’t think Jenna’s grandmas would be offended. A boy and a girl discuss all the different types of grandmothers and then make a statement about their own. I love that the grannies depicted are multi-ethnic and the diversity of dress, jobs, lifestyles, and even ways of kissing are discussed. Here’s a sample of the text: “Some grannies live in apartments, big old houses, old people’s homes, little rooms in the city, trailers, farmhouses, cottages by the ocean, nursing homes, or nowhere at all. Our granny lives with us in our house.” Finally, I adore the vibrant water color illustrations by Julie Vivas that are both humorous and engaging. [ages 4-8]
This book is about a little boy’s grandmother who’s forgetting all kinds of important things. Rather than being told in a scary or sad way, however, the story is told with factual lightness that demonstrates the little boy’s loving and caring response. The little boy’s interactions with the grandmother he loves are full of patience and helpfulness and the story of their wonderful relationship is told with gentle respectfulness. Here’s a sample of the text: “My little grandmother often forgets about glasses and teacups and clothing and pets. She doesn’t know why, and she doesn’t know how; when she thinks about THEN she forgets about NOW.” The watercolor and ink illustrations by Kathryn Brown are cheerful and engaging. [ages 4-8]
We love all the Todd Parr books! In this book, he tells a story about all sorts of different grandpas and their characteristics in his typical humorous and colorful style. One page says “Some grandpas collect a lot of different things” and the illustrations show a grandpa surrounded by things like fish, hats, underwear and neckties. Another page shows a grandpa on the phone with the text, “Some grandpas talk really loudly.” Some grandpas live with grandmas and some grandpas can wiggle their ears! This one is geared toward younger children, but the silliness is guaranteed to please. There’s also a companion Grandma Book. [baby – 4]
A hilarious story ensues when Grandpa awakens to find his false teeth are missing. Grandpa is quite grumpy because his teeth were “handmade by the finestht Sthwissth craftsthmen.” Throughout the story, Grandpa talks with a lisp and suspects everyone of the thievery – especially anyone who’s not smiling. In order to prove their innocence, the townspeople walk around with exaggerated, toothy grins that scare the town’s tourists away. The book is sure to have your family smiling too, and the ending offers a surprising twist. The illustrations are colorful, humorous and super-detailed. [ages 4-8]
In this story, Little Critter gets to take a trip to town with his Grandpa. The pair do all sorts of fun things including riding on a train together, going through revolving doors, shopping for clothes, eating with chopsticks and seeing a scary movie. It’s obvious that the two share a wonderful relationship and kids will get a kick out of the fun things they do together as well as the perspective the story is told from (Little Critter says, “I held grandpa’s hand so he wouldn’t get lost.”) As always, Mayer’s illustrations are colorful and fun, and the hidden spider and grasshopper on each page are an added bonus. [ages 4-8]
Now, go hug the grandparents in your life! And happy reading.