Grandmas and Grandpas!

Lynn:  Here’s a sweet funny book that will get the giggles started right from the title page  – and kids will love it too!  How to Babysit a Grandpa by Jean Reagan (Random/Knopf 2012) is one of those delightful books that kids and the adults reading to them will enjoy equally.  A shared joke is always a special thing and the joke here is that the little boy in the story is the one offering the practical advice about babysitting.  And it’s good advice too – from how to entertain him to what to feed him – olives on fingertips and anything dipped in ketchup.  Lee Wildish’s illustrations are food for giggles too.  Grandpa is comfortably rotund and his eyes are just visible behind his glasses.  I especially love the depictions of the living room in the midst of various games as it looks just like our toy-strewn house.

I asked the focus group to read this one for me and they loved it too – recommending it for the PreSchool to First Grade set and it’s one we’re definitely saving for Henry when he gets just a little older.  I won’t spoil it for you but be sure to check out the final scene where the parents come home and Grandpa has to say goodbye – that’s my husband and me every time!

Cindy: Let’s not forget about Grandmas, although Larry the little lamb might want to initially. Grammy Lamby and the Secret Handshake (Henry Holt 2012) acknowledges that common relationship issue…sometimes we just don’t like our relatives very much. Little Larry doesn’t appreciate his Grammy’s interests in sewing and tea or her taste in the new pink polka dotted pajamas she makes him. He’s embarrassed by her loud singing and is not thrilled with her talk of plans to take him to Tanzania or the South Seas one day. And her silly secret handshake…three squeezes to mean a silent “I love you.” Ick. Frankly, he’d just as soon not have her visit at all!

I won’t spoil the rest of the fun, but let’s just say that people contain multitudes. And there is more to Grammy Lamby than Larry has witnessed. Eventually he invents his own secret handshake. Four squeezes: “I love you too!” The Klise sisters give honest and humorous voice to emotions that many of us deal with when the relatives come to visit. And now I have to go do some preparation for my inlaws who are due here tomorrow. I’d better keep this book handy on my nightstand. 😉

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About the Author:

Cindy Dobrez and Lynn Rutan are Booklist reviewers and middle-school librarians who have chaired both ALA’s Best Books for Young Adults and the Michael L. Printz Award for YA Literature committees. Follow Bookends on Twitter at @BookendsBlog. You can also find Cindy at @cdobrez and Lynn at @482april.

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