Tag Archives: grandparents

Grandma is a Slowpoke

21 Mar

27036636Grandma is a Slowpoke

written by Janet Halfmann

illustrated by Michele Coxon

Star Bright Books, February 2016

Grandma and granddaughter go out for a walk. Grandma points out interesting things along the way, a squirrel’s nest, bathing ducks, a rabbit family, and more. Although the girl repeatedly complains that Grandma is a slowpoke, she soon starts to see things Grandma’s way. By the end of the story, the girl is not in such a big hurry to get home. Grandma agrees to stay until the fireflies come out.

One of the perks of writing book reviews is finding new stories that I might have never seen otherwise. This is one of those hidden treasures. My library system has several of Janet Halfmann’s other books, but it has not acquired this title yet. I was able to get a copy from the author herself.

When I read this book, I had an immediate connection to the grandma in the story. It was the slow-paced comforting tone of the book which drew me into the story. And the sweet granddaughter who appreciated the time spent with her grandma won me over. This is one for the family read aloud.

And teachers, pick up a copy of this one when you’re gathering your collection of books for Grandparents’ Day (September 11th) or whenever your class invites grandparents to visit. Maybe invite grandparents in for a special nature walk to a local park. Have a scavenger hunt or if the park is too far away provide twigs and leaves for a natural art project they can do together. Serve fresh veggies and lemonade to end your day.

However you choose to extend the story life of the book, be sure to help your little ones make that connection between the love of reading and their older family members.

Slow down and enjoy your day!

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Papa Jethro

16 Dec

1160924Papa Jethro written by Deborah Bodin Cohen and illustrated by Jane Dippold (2007)

Rachel is always so happy to see her Grandpa Nick when he comes to visit. Grandpa Nick keeps candy in his pockets for Rachel, they play games together, and Grandpa Nick tells her bedtime stories. One day Rachel asks Grandpa Nick why he goes to church and she goes to synagogue. Grandpa Nick tells Rachel the story of Moses’ father-in-law, Papa Jethro. Papa Jethro was a leader of a people called the Midianites, but Moses and his son, Gershom, were Jewish. Grandpa Nick explains that Gershom’s father and mother (Moses and Zipporah) fell in love and started a family even though they came from different backgrounds. And when Moses was called to return to Egypt and lead his people to freedom, Gershom and his mother and baby brother stayed behind in Midian with Papa Jethro until he returned. Gershom played games with Papa Jethro and Papa Jethro told him stories too. But when Moses crossed the Red Sea with the Israelites, Papa Jethro took Gershom, his mother, and baby brother back to the desert to be with Moses and returned to Midian alone. Sometimes Papa Jethro would travel back to the desert to visit his grandsons. He would give them delicious Midianite candies, play games, and tell stories. Papa Jethro taught Gershom a few Midianite words, they called it their secret code. And Gershom told Papa Jethro all about being Jewish. Even though they came from different backgrounds they still loved each other. Papa Jethro didn’t want to change something that was very important to him, and he didn’t want Gershom to change something that was very important to him either. Just as Rachel is about to fall asleep she asks Grandpa Nick if it matters to him that she is Jewish and he is Christian. Grandpa Nick replies, “You are my granddaughter. Nothing else matters. I love you just like Papa Jethro loved Gershom.”

Deborah Bodin Cohen writes a beautiful story within a story about interfaith families. She treats both stories and all the differences between the families with dignity and respect. Her words help children understand that it is love that holds families together, not their differences.

Jane Dippold’s illustrations have an ‘ancient feel’ about them. The reader is transported from a modern day bedroom with a Grandpa in a shirt and tie to biblical period in history with a Papa in robes and sandals. And in both settings, she depicts love and happiness.

I really love this story. It’s not the traditional quirky picture book. It takes a serious look at family differences and helps the reader understand that interfaith relationships have been around for thousands of years, and that the love that keeps a family together that is more important than what differences they may have.

Granddad’s Fishing Buddy

10 Jun

1538575Granddad’s Fishing Buddy written by Mary Quigley and illustrated by Stephane Jorisch (2007)

Sara wakes up early and goes fishing with her granddad on the lake. She’s excited to meet his fishing buddy. Granddad seems to know all the fishermen on the lake. They greet each other quietly and continue fishing.  Sara starts to wonder who Granddad’s fishing buddy is since they don’t join any one of the fishermen they meet on the lake. Then Sara noticed ‘a shadow skimmed over the lake’. It was a beautiful heron who landed near the lily pads. The heron fished for his dinner and Granddad tells Sara to row toward the heron. They fish in the same area as the heron. When the heron moves to another part of the lake and catches more fish, Granddad tells Sara to follow him. Granddad, Sara, and the heron catch lots of fish that morning. When Sara and Graddad return to the pier, Sara asks when he will be going out with his fishing buddy again. Granddad winks and asks, “When are you coming back to the lake?”

Mary Quigley writes with the experience of a real fisherman. She tells the story quietly and with love. Her use of language transports the reader to the fishing boat on the lake. Even without the gorgeous illustrations, the reader can see ‘the sky was still blue-black and the stars shone like night-lights’ and feel ‘We pushed off the dock with a splash, sending ripples across the glassy lake. Steam lifted from the water like clouds.’ And if you’ve ever been fishing you’ll identify with this line,’Granddad reached into a bucket of dirt and pulled out a worm that coiled around as it swayed from his fingertips.’

Sephane Jorish paints the lake as if it’s a living thing. You can feel the water ripple and hear the splash of the paddle as it slices through the lake. But, more than that you can feel the love between a grandfather and his granddaughter. And that is the most precious emotion of the story.

I recommend this book whether you enjoy fishing or not. I’m sure you will identify with the quiet activity and the peaceful surroundings. And the loving relationship transcends the fishing experience.

Me and Mom

8 Oct

Image

This is a picture of me with my mother taken last May on Mother’s Day.  Many people have said that I look a lot like her.  I never really saw that, but in recent years I can see more and more of the similarity.  Sometimes I look in the mirror and am startled to see my mother looking back at me!

Notice how we’re both squinting into the camera?  That’s a bad habit we both have when we’re smiling.  Since this picture was taken, my mother’s vision had begun to deteriorate.  Although she didn’t know it at the time, she’d been developing cataracts in both eyes.  She found out this summer when she went to renew her driver’s license.  So we spent the better part of the summer having them removed.  I’d like to say that I was a perfect daughter throughout the whole process, but I must admit it was more than a little frustrating.  First of all, what genius decided that eye drops for cataracts should come in little tiny bottles with even tinier written instructions???  For goodness sake, the woman can’t see!  And to make matters worse, there was not one but three different eye drops to take in differing amounts and for differing lengths of time.  There was a full page sheet of ovals for her to fill in each time she took one of these drops.  So I did what any good teacher would do, I made the necessary accommodations and labeled three large ziplock baggies with the name of the drop and when is should be taken.  Then I cut her sheet into strips so that she only had to deal with one week at a time, because of course the directions for each drop changed each of the four weeks that it was administered!  And then we repeated the whole process for the second surgery.   Throughout all this process, she can’t drive…. so who gets to do all the shopping, library runs, post office delivery, banking, etc…. you guessed it!

Ah well, the good news is that now mom has almost perfect vision in both eyes and her driver’s license.   I still have my sanity and my mother… life’s good!

So here’s to all you children out there who are doing your best to help their parents, friends, and neighbors…. Keep up the good work, they appreciate it!

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