Sometimes It’s Grandmas and Grandpas

Sometimes It’s Grandmas and Grandpas, Not Mommies and Daddies by Gayle Byrne, illustrated by Mary Haverfield

Look at family through the eyes of a young girl who lives with her grandparents.  Nonnie, her grandmother, gives her hugs all the time.  Poppy snuggles in bed, watches TV with them.  They are a close-knit and loving family made up of two grandparents and a child.  The book oozes love and warmth.  It is filled with a strong sense of home, the sort of home that every child deserves and would adore living in. This loving picture book, written by a grandmother who takes care of her granddaughter will fill an important place in library collections and speaks with love of how well different types of families work.

I was very pleased to see a book on this subject, because so many children are being raised by their grandparents.  Then after reading it, I was thrilled once again to have found a book that so embraces a child and delights in the warm world it is creating.  So yes, this is a wonderful book on grandparents being parents but is also a book that children in any sort of family with relate to and enjoy.  Byrne’s use of repetition as a framework for the story works well, particularly because the repetition is about Nonnie cuddles.  Her depiction of a special family is enhanced by the soft watercolor illustrations that help depict the connections of the family members.

Highly recommended, this book is simply lovely and will fill an important niche in library collections.  Appropriate for ages 3-6.

Reviewed from copy received from Abbeville Press.

Shark vs. Train

Shark vs. Train by Chris Barton, illustrated by Tom Lichtenheld

Two young boys dash to the toy box and dig around.  One emerges with a shark toy while the other brandishes a toy train.  So now the sides are clear, but which toy would win a battle?  Well, that all depends!  Would it be underwater or on train tracks?  Would they be eating pies or having a burping contest?  The ideas of the sorts of competitions will have readers giggling in delight as the shark wins one and then the train wins the next.  Each competition is illustrated for humor and the reasons for winning are often surprising and funny.  Get this book into the hands of children as quickly as you can!

Barton’s text is kept simple and easy.  He frames the competition and then steps back to witness who wins.  Towards the end, the competitions get wilder and neither shark nor train are comfortable.  The book ends with the two boys being called to lunch.  The illustrations are a large part of the pleasure and success of this book.  The emotions on the faces of both shark and train will have readers quickly understanding the situation.  There are small touches and asides in the illustrations that bring the story depth and added humor. 

This book is sure to be popular in any library.  Place it face out and it will disappear.  The only question is whether it is the shark or train that gets the book more attention.  Competition anyone?  Appropriate for ages 4-7.

Reviewed from library copy.

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