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"We know a great deal about how to encourage reading when books are present. Successful approaches include read-alouds... More
Summary: Grandfathers have so much to offer. Even the everyday things of life -- a cup, an apple -- can tell a story. With simple statements and vivid imagery, readers are given the foundation for personalizing the book and making it a family story. This is an illustrated poem that helps define the moments that create lasting memories.
Type of Reading: bedtime story, anytime reading, family reading, read aloud book, learning to read
Recommended Age: read together: 1 to 8; read yourself: 8 to 10
Interest Level: 2 to 6
Age of Child: Read with 6-year-old girl.
Young Reader Reaction: In reading this with our daughter, she tended to focus on the objects, even though she and her grandfather have shared stories or talked about many of these things (like birds). We were surprised that the images didn't trigger memories for her. It was almost as though she is the wrong age: too old for the object identification, not old enough to really connect with family history.
Adult Reader Reaction: The black-and-white sketches are gorgeous and add incredible depth to the simple text. The repetition draws out a song, and you can almost hear Bill Withers singing "In Grandma's Hands" in the background. Although written for young children, the nostalgia will appeal more to their parents.
Pros: This is a coffee-table-quality book that gives families the chance to build memories between a grandparent and child.
Cons: The Author Note in the front explains that the book is "designed to promote discussion about the elderly and their role in our lives and society." It can certainly accomplish this, but to get the average reader to move past the text, it would be helpful to offer some "starting the conversation" questions. It would also change the age range of the interest level.
Borrow or Buy: Buy. This is a gift book. It would be a wonderful gift for a grandparent to give to a child, particularly if there are personal photographs or stories to go with it.
Educational Themes: For pre-readers, particularly infants and toddlers, you can use the book to teach object identification. For older children, this is a book you can explore one page at a time (v. reading front to back). You can bring this book to life by asking kids to write a story based on a particular sketch. Have them draw up questions about a drawing (or a series of them), then conduct an interview, and write up the story.