Keeping flies and other distractions away from Grandpa while he snoozes in the backyard isn’t an easy job…but young Gilbert is determined to see it through.
Taking his beloved grandpa’s possibly joking request seriously, Gilbert spends a long Sunday afternoon hovering near the hammock. This gives him plenty of time to think about Grandma Sarah, who died; about the T-shirts his grandparents brought back from Florida for him, his two brothers, and cousins Robby and Barry (but not, apparently, cousins Carol or Deanna); about clouds; about bugs; about how he’ll be in kindergarten in three months when his new little sister comes. Shrugging off the impulse to follow a passing cat and other temptations, Gilbert hangs on alertly until, at last, his dad comes home from work, Grandpa wakes up, and everyone gathers in the kitchen for watermelon—where his vigil becomes a family story, to be told and retold. Printed, for no evident reason, in numerous colors, the narrative is scattered in short blocks around painted illustrations that set the episode in a suburban neighborhood of shaggy lawns, no sidewalks, and small frame houses. Gilbert and his grandpa are identically bullet-headed, heavyset, and, like the rest of their extended family, pink of complexion.
Typographically overdesigned but engaging as a low-key celebration of both intergenerational bonds and the rewards of quiet rumination. (Picture book. 6-8)