Review: Grammy Lamby and the Secret Handshake by Kate Klise

grammy lamby

Grammy Lamby and the Secret Handshake by Kate Klise and M. Sarah Klise

Larry wasn’t very excited when his grandmother came to visit.  She invented a secret handshake for the two of them on the very first time she visited.  The three squeezes meant “I love you.”  His grandma also loved to talk and sew, and that’s what she did much of the time she spent at their house.  When they went to church, Grammy Lamby wore a big hat and sang louder than anyone else.  She even had big plans for trips they would take together when Larry was older.  But Larry didn’t want to go anywhere with Grammy Lamby.  The next time Grammy Lamby visited, a storm blew into town and tore a hole in their roof.  Grammy Lamby sprang into action, fixing and hammering.  It was a whole new grandma from Larry’s perspective.  And a whole new hero for him to admire.

The Klise sisters have created a winning picture book here.  The hesitance of a child with a relative their don’t see often is captured very cleverly here.  The way it is approached honors both of the people in the relationship:  Larry is cautious and overwhelmed and Grammy Lamby is friendly and trying very hard to be liked.  The use of an emergency to have the two of them come together works well, allowing Grammy to display her real skills and character.

The illustrations have a warmth to them that is wonderful.  They have small details that invite readers to linger a bit yet are large enough to work with a group. 

A great addition to story times about grandparents, this would also make a good present for any long-distance grandparent to give.  Appropriate for ages 4-6.

Reviewed from copy received from Henry Holt and Company.