Benjamin and Chamberlain’s picture book is squarely focused on family diversity as it tells the story of a biracial boy and his musical family in a companion to their earlier collaboration, My Two Grannies (2008).
Although Aston’s grandads are both musicians and live in his Lancashire hometown, his maternal Grandad Harry is white and from Lancashire too, while his paternal Grandad Roy is black and from Trinidad. The rather text-heavy story depicts Aston immersed in a bicultural mix of music. Both grandads encourage Aston to practice, and his love of music carries over to school. When the school’s Summer Fair is suddenly without a band, Aston asks his grandads if their respective brass and steel-drum bands might step in—even though his teacher tells him that there’s only time for one. When both respond positively, Aston worries: “How could he decide which band should play?” Ultimately, he suggests that the bands practice so that they can play together. The Summer Fair is a great success, with Aston getting up on stage to join in the music-making.
Cheery, brightly colored, cartoon-style illustrations reiterate the text, which, while a touch didactic, laudably expands on the typically monocultural depictions of families in picture books. (Picture book. 3-6)