Tuesday 12 November 2013

How to Babysit a Grandad

How to Babysit a Grandad by Jean Reagan, illustrated by Lee Wildish
PB RRP $14.99
ISBN: 9781444915884
Reviewed by Hilary Smillie

This tender, humourous picture book opens with the following text:
"Babysitting a grandad is fun if you know how. When your grandad rings the doorbell, what should you do? Hide!
I remember my small granddaughters doing the same thing when their dad arrived home from work until their giggles gave them away. So a great beginning.
The little boy in the story obviously has had a great deal of experience managing his grandad while enjoying himself as well. His how-to tips often smack suspiciously of self-focus. Are ice cream topped with cookies, cookies topped with ice cream, and anything dipped in ketchup the best snacks to give a grandad? The How to Entertain a Grandad list is, of course, an opportunity to show off. Somersaulting across the room is number one.
Tips abound on every page - What to Do on a Walk, How to Play with a Grandad, and What to Draw for Grandad are but a few. Naptime is my favourite part where grandad is the one to sleep, and the tips on how to wake him will make kids laugh.
Illustrator Lee Wildish, the winner of the Red House Children's Book Award 2013, has created comical oversized bodies and drainpipe legs, lively colour combinations and heart warming scenarios which show the fond connection between grandad and grandson. The child-drawn pictures "pegged up" in rows on the second page of the picture book are also appealing, and show what the story is about. At the end of the book, Grandad departs with a similar picture painted by his small charge.
Jean Reagan demonstrates a deep knowledge of children within her simple text and storyline. I liked its length (22 pages of story with extra illustrations to enjoy) and I didn't want it to end.
Full of humour, love and fun, How to Babysit a Grandad will be a firm favourite with both parents and children.

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