Reviewer Rita Zobayan says, “Whether we call her Noni, Grams, Yaya, Memaw, or another, special name, we can agree that grandmothers are the best. To celebrate Grandparents Day (September 7), here are three books that will make you want to hug your Nana.”
Grandma (Child’s Play, 2014; $16.99, Ages 3-8) by Jessica Shepherd deals with Oscar’s experience as his grandmother’s dementia takes hold and she enters a nursing home. The story begins with Oscar describing all the wonderful ways he spends time with Grandma. We love books. I can even read some to her now. We like to smell the flowers we’ve just planted…and to wash the dishes until they shine like diamonds.
But Oscar notices that Grandma is forgetting lots of things and can’t do things that she used to be able to. That’s when Grandma moves into a special home. As Oscar and his family visit Grandma, Oscar notices the differences. It doesn’t look like her house and it smells different too. But Grandma is happy and the people who help her are a lot of fun! We have drinks and cupcakes to share.
Grandma has good and bad days. Sometimes Grandma shouts when people are trying to help her. And sometimes, she’s angry with me too, and I don’t know why. Dad says it’s not my fault, she’s just confused. Oscar figures out a way to help. Grandma is getting very forgetful…so I made a box of happy memories that we can look through together. Oscar still spends lots of time with Grandma in her new home, and he has friends and family to take care of him when he’s sad that Grandma is feeling angry or unhappy or can’t spend time with him. And, in the end, Oscar still knows that his Grandma is the best.
Simply worded and illustrated, Grandma provides relevant and easy-to-understand examples and explanations for children who are experiencing a change in their grandparent’s behavior. A two-page question and answer section helps parents explain dementia and gives suggestions for how grandchildren can help.
How to Babysit a Grandma (Alfred A. Knopf, 2014; $16.99, Ages 5-8) written by Jean Reagan and illustrated by Lee Wildish takes a delightful spin on caregiving. Mom and Dad are going away, so their young daughter gets to babysit Grandma! That’s right, she has many tricks to make spending time together fun.
How To Keep A Grandma Busy: Go to the park, bake snickerdoodles, have a costume parade, feed the ducks, do yoga, look at family pictures, swing, play hide-and-seek, make goofy hats, slide, have a dancing-puppet show, read stacks of books, take photos, do puzzles, play cards. As the babysitter, you need to let her choose.
Our young grandma-sitter has advice galore. She fills in the reader with how to play with a Grandma and places to sleep. Under her granddaughter’s care, Grandma has a great time. She remembers to pump her legs when swinging and listens to the five-minute time-to-go warning. Dinner time can be tricky, but, never fear, the grandma-sitter has tricks up her sleeve. Grandma will eat if you arrange food to make silly faces or add sprinkles to anything (Well – almost anything.). In the morning, it is time to say goodbye, but the granddaughter has that covered, too. (Hint: it involves a costume, items to borrow, a special phrase, and a big hug.)
Fun, brightly illustrated, and engaging, How to Babysit a Grandma is a perfect book for children who are anxious about sleepovers. It presents lots of suggestions on activities and empowers children, too.
Our final book is an oldie but goodie, Tea Cakes for Tosh (G.P. Putnam’s Sons, 2012; $16.99, Ages 6-8) written by Kelly Starling Lyons and illustrated by E.B. Lewis. Grandma Honey is a woman of many talents. She spins stories and bakes delicious tea cakes. Tosh loves spending time with her, listening as Honey tells of courageous great-great-great-great-grandma Ida, who worked as a kitchen slave and whose tea cakes “were the best around.” Although Ida was forbidden to share the delicious treats with her children or any of the other slaves, she risked being whipped to give the children a taste of sweet freedom. Tosh listens to the story over and over.
When Honey begins to forget everyday things, such as where she parked the car or her sister’s phone number, Tosh is concerned. But the worst day was when Honey forgot how to make tea cakes…Tosh looked at Honey’s worried face and checked all of the ingredients she placed on the counter—butter, flour, sugar, vanilla. “What about eggs?” Tosh asked. “Right, that’s it,” Honey said, beaming at Tosh. “You really are something.”
As Tosh comes to terms with his grandmother’s failing memory, he decides to take action. He makes tea cakes at home and memorizes Honey’s story. The next day, Tosh surprises and comforts Honey with his baked goods and recitation.
This heartwarming tale is about the special bond between grandparent and grandchild. Complete with a tea cake recipe, Tea Cakes for Tosh is a beautifully illustrated book that reminds us that sometimes listening can be a precious gift unto itself.
Here’s a link to our recent review of 2015 Caldecott Honor Book, Nana in The City by Lauren Castillo and picture books giveaway.
Want to Win Some Books?
Beginning today, Monday, September 10, 2012 through Wednesday, September 12, 2012 of this week we’ll be reviewing and/or briefly mentioning picture books that we’ve read recently then giving them away! And guess what? If you LIKE us on Facebook and also send us your name and contact info in an email to Ronna.L.Mandel@gmail.com by Monday, September 24, 2012 you’ll be entered to win a prize package of all books covered!! Remember to write Picture Book Giveaway in the subject line. YOU MUST LIST ALL BOOKS COVERED as part of your entry eligibility so be sure to read the blog every day. One lucky winner will receive eight hardcover books worth a total retail value of $136.88! We’re making it SO easy for you to get your kids reading again this back-to-school season. And isn’t that priceless? The giveaway opportunity ends at midnight on Monday, September 24, 2012 and a winner will be randomly chosen on Tuesday, September 25, 2012. Click here now for rules. Good luck.
Today’s theme is family.
The Roller Coaster Kid ($16.99, Viking, ages 4-8) written by Mary Ann Rodman and illustrated by Roger Roth. A young boy called Zach spends time with his grandparents every summer and always visit Oceanside Park, an amusement park with a roller coaster called the Whipper. In fact one summer decades earlier Zach’s grandfather earned the moniker, The Roller Coaster Kid, having ridden the Whipper 100 times! Because both Zach and his grandma both dislike roller coasters, they enjoy the Big Wheel instead. When the next summer arrives and Grandma has passed on, Zach must find a way to reinvigorate his grieving grandfather. Will this perhaps involve the Whipper? I love the subtle spin on such a sensitive subject that allows parents to gently broach the topics of love, loss, facing fears and the unique thread that ties children together with their grandparents.
Also worth noting:
Who’s In My Family? All About Our Families ($15.99, Candlewick Press, ages 3 and up) written by Robie H. Harris and illustrated by Nadine Bernard Westcott. Whether you live with your parents, grandparents, guardian, mother and stepfather, with siblings or a pet, they are all families and not one is better than the other, just different. Here’s a picture book that will get kids interested in talking about all kinds of families who live in all kinds of homes in oh so many places sharing the good times and the bad, but most importantly, sharing the love.
($15.99, Templar Books, ages 3-5) written by Nanette Newman and illustrated by Emma Chichester Clark. Now here’s a book I wish I’d written. This new twist on the “What do you want to be when you grow up?” theme introduces delightful Lily who proposes to her grandma the most imaginative careers a grandma could possibly have. And her cool grandma simply adds to the ideas as she cleverly and lovingly indulges her thoughtful granddaughter’s whims. “Or you could grow up to be a fairy with a magic wand who stops rooms from getting messy.” Now there’s a little girl who thinks big thoughts any child would adore. The artwork by Chichester Clark is colorful, vibrant and keeps us turning the page to see her take on Grandma in all her glory. Give this to a cherished grandparent or add it to your own collection so you can return to it again and again.
**Recap – To be eligible for the giveaway:
1. Read our blog this week
2. Like us on Facebook
3. Send us an email to Ronna.L.Mandel@gmail.com
by Monday, September 24, 2012. Write “Picture Book Giveaway” in the subject line. In the body of the email, write:
a. The names of all the books mentioned in our blog posts from Monday September 10 through Wednesday September 12, 2012.
b. Your name
c. Phone number
A winner will be randomly chosen on Tuesday, September 25, 2012.
Debbie Glade reviews 2 special books about spending time with grandparents.
I guess it’s because I adored my grandparents that I love children’s books about kids spending quality time making memories with their grandparents. Cooking with Grandma and Adventures with Grandpa, ($16.99, Hardie Grant Books, ages 3 and up) written and illustrated by Rosemary Mastnak, will take you back to your childhood, if you too loved visiting your grandparents. And with summer just around the corner and many children heading off for vacation time with their favorite relatives, these books will get them excited for mouth watering meals, new adventures and fun!
Cooking with Grandma is all about a girl who makes wonderful food every day of the week with her grandmother, and together they use their imagination to serve it all up. Who wouldn’t want to make sandwiches and then invite a teddy bear to a fancy picnic or make popcorn, get all dressed up and go to the movies in their own living room? Everyone deserves to have a granny like the one in this book!
Adventures with Grandpa is told in simple rhyming prose. The story is about a boy who creates the most imaginative adventures with his grandfather, using objects found in the shed as props. Together they battle a dragon, build a racing car and go up in a hot air balloon. What a fun and creative grandpa this little boy has, and oh my, the contents of that shed of his are really something!
These stories really pique a child’s imagination. Both books feature beautiful watercolor illustrations against a crisp white background. They’re whimsical and fun, and you’ll love them.
What cute books these are for grandparents to read to their own grandchildren!