How to Babysit a Grandpa by Jean Reagan, illustrated by Lee Wildish
Done in the format of a how-to guide, this book takes a warm and cheerful look at a grandparent coming to babysit. Except in this book, the child thinks that he is the babysitter. He tells you how to stay quiet when you are hiding from your grandpa and what to feed your grandpa (hint: it involves a lot of ice cream and cookies). Then there are walks to take, entertainment to provide, and lots of playing together. When your grandpa finally announces naptime, it’s time for his nap. Get him a long book to read, and he will be asleep in no time. But since you are the babysitter, you have to stay awake. You can wake up your grandpa later, help tidy the room, and then get ready for your parents to return. Make sure you have some parting gifts for your grandpa, since he’s sure to miss you a lot.
What could have been an overly-sentimental picture book is taken to a sweet and comfortable level thanks to Reagan’s use of the how-to format. I also appreciated that the little boy in the story did not use any of his advice to be naughty. Instead, he took his duties very seriously. Reagan’s writing has a great playful quality to it. It is also writing that reads aloud very nicely, thanks to its light touch.
Wildish’s illustrations have a humor to them that adds to the book. When the book says in a straight-forward tone that on a walk in the cold, grandpas need to be bundled up, she shows us a grandpa so very bundled that he cannot move. In sun grandpas need sunscreen, and the image shows the boy emptying a bottle of sunscreen onto his grandpa’s head. Small silly touches that really make the book fun.
A great book for grandparents to bring to share with their grandchildren, this would also make a great additional to a story time about grandparents. Appropriate for ages 4-6.
Reviewed from copy received from Alfred A. Knopf.