Is it a universal truth that all grandmas indulge their grandchildren?
The grandmas in this book hail from many different countries, as indicated on an unlabeled map stretched across the front endpapers, with thumbnail pictures of interior illustrations as keys. There are visual clues as to geography in the illustrations (a Hawaiian appliqued quilt, a palm-lined cricket field, some architectural details in some illustrations, a jeepney with a license plate “Love2U Filipinas”), and different skin colors and hair textures provide hints to racial differences, but readers may need to look elsewhere to confirm country names. The mixed-media illustrations have a cartoonish cast, but the people are individuals, with some grandmas looking quite young and others much older, just as in real families. The rhyming text is simple, but it emphasizes the personalities and interests of the grown-ups and the connections that grandmas make with their grandchildren: “My grandma’s favorite hat does not have fancy bows. / She wears it when she’s fixing cars, / or in her workout clothes.” Some stereotypes are broken (the Belgian car-fixing granny), some endure (the Brazilian grandma’s fear of frogs). The companion volume Grandpa’s Favorite features different countries but uses the same format. Both end with small pictorial vignettes showing how grandparents and grandkids separated by distance stay in touch.
Diversity, love and affection depicted visually, and a small format easily shared between an adult and a child add up to good choices for Grandparent’s Day or the year round. (Picture book. 4-8)