BIG DREAMS, SMALL FISH Written and illustrated by Paula Cohen (Levine Querido; $17.99, Ages…
This Grandma Has Secrets
When you were a child, did you ever wonder what your grandmother got up to when you weren’t around? Do you think she spent her days knitting, baking or playing Canasta or were you convinced that her grandmotherly activities were merely a ruse for something more covert? A part-time spy perhaps? Hard as I try I cannot imagine my Nanny or Nana parachuting into enemy territory, but just thinking about it makes me laugh. Grambo, a picture book by L.A. author Beth Navarro with illustrations by Betsy Hamilton (Be There Bedtime Stories, $9.99, Ages 4-8), takes that far-fetched and very funny idea and runs with it.
It’s wonderful to read a new grandparent-centered picture book especially such an imaginative one. Grandparents play an important role in kids’ lives, in fact many grandparents raise their grandchildren or are full-time caregivers. So when I saw the title of this picture book, I knew it was going to take me somewhere unusual. The best part is it will make children look at their grandmothers in a whole new way.
Navarro introduces us to the narrator, Ryan, a young boy who sneaks into his grandmother’s bedroom eager to find his souvenir from her trip to Texas. However, instead of finding his present, Ryan uncovers a government issued GPS. “Why would Grandma need a Global Positioning System? Did Grandma pick up the wrong suitcase?” Not standard vacation gear for a typical grandma, now is it? Well it looks like something’s cooking and it isn’t Ryan’s grandma’s great chocolate chip cookies. With his curiosity piqued and using his best surveillance skills, Ryan follows his grandma on her next vacation only to discover she’s really on a mission for the CIA. Grandma’s no ordinary grandmother, she’s secret agent Grambo!
Kids will love the bonus secret code embedded in the story along with all the action and adventure Grambo’s spying sojourn promises. Plus Hamilton’s illustrations are a riot. My favorite is Ryan’s grandma in her disguise of a long grey wig, sunglasses and a tattered shawl. This grandmother can keep her cool even when things heat up and I’m not talking about kitchen ovens.
As part of the Be There Bedtime Stories world, Navarro’s book can be purchased not only as a hard copy, but as a web story, too. Find out how it works here.
Click here to get a preview of the book!
Hear Beth Navarro read a bit from her picture book here.
Visit her on Facebook here: www.facebook.com/Grambobethnavarro
– Reviewed by Ronna Mandel