Tuesday 9 March 2021

What Do You Call Your Grandma?

What Do You Call Your Grandma? by Ashleigh Barton and Martina Heiduczek (ABC Books) ISBN 978 0 7333 4084 0 RRP $17.99 (HB)

Reviewed by Nean McKenzie

A celebration of grandmothers around the world, What Do You Call Your Grandma takes the reader into different families and tells a story about each one. With rhyming text and big, colourful illustrations, the book travels from Italy to India, Uganda to Lebanon, and Greece to Vietnam, to name a few. Each grandma is unique (as is every grandmother), not just in the name she is given, but in the activities she does with her grandchildren. This is a story that takes the love the reader feels for their own grandma and relates it to every other child in the world, making it seem a smaller and more understanding place.

Hobbies of the grandmas in the book include cooking, knitting, watching soccer, singing, and telling stories. There’s a grandma who will play on a see saw and another who is quite glamorous. Also mentioned is a grandma who lives far away and doesn’t see her grandchild very often but writes letters to keep in touch. All these small, non-stereotypical stories add up to create pictures of generations of families being together in their own ways.

Martina Heiduczek’s illustrations contain lots of interesting details as the story travels from a forest in New Zealand to a kitchen in China and the outback in northern Australia to a snow-covered village in Iceland. A glossary page at the back explains the grandma names used and what part of the world they are usually from.

What Do You Call Your Grandma? follows author Ashleigh Barton’s debut book What Do You Call Your Grandpa? which came out in August 2020 and was recently announced on the notable list for the CBCA awards. Although for children from four years of age, I’m sure this story will also be enjoyed by a lot of grandparents. 

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