What! Cried Granny, or The Crotchety Substitute

I recently substituted in a 2nd grade classroom (Miss Nelson has nothing on me!) and brought along this book in case there were a few free minutes to fill. Luckily for me, those darling children finished their math lesson with time to spare, leaving me plenty of time to share this, my favorite bedtime story. If ever there existed a book that truly captures the lengths that grandparents will go for their grandchildren, I offer Kate Lum’s What! Cried Granny. In it, a little boy is visiting his Granny for a sleep-over. When it’s discovered that the boy doesn’t have a bed, Granny comes to the rescue with hammer and nails and a few coats of paint. Need a blankie? Granny’ll dye the wool.  Come without your teddy bear? Granny will make a a giant one from scratch. My grandma Deedles used to scratch my back until I fell asleep. And my grandpa Pumpy used to stand in the kitchen with a white dish towel over his shoulder and make foot-high stacks of waffles for me and let me put as much powdered sugar on them as I wanted. And this book reminds me of those million little moments and smile. . I adore this book and so do my boys and so did my little 2nd graders who hooted and hollered when I read it out loud and use a crotchety old lady voice for Granny. The illustrations by Adrian Johnson are divine and the book speaks to the sheer lengths we’ll go to for the little ones we love…

Friday: A Chair for My Mother

Occasionally, a children’s book makes me cry. It happened when I first read Tomie dePaola’s “Now One Foot, Now the Other” (I’ll review that soon…tears galore) and it happened again with Jan Karon’s “Miss Fannie’s Hat”…For those of you who have had the good fortune of reading either of those, you’ll see the pattern. Children’s books that have grandmother’s in them seem to pull my heartstrings a little tighter than others. And for those of you who knew my grandma Deedles, you’ll know why. The latest addition to this esteemed (and rather soggy list) is Vera B. Williams’ “A Chair for My Mother” – a gorgeous, heartwarming tale of a little girl, her mother and grandmother who are saving money for a comfortable chair. All of their possessions were burned in a fire and, although neighbors have graciously given them all sorts of hodgepodge furnishings, what they really would love is one soft chair to sit in.

When all of her mother’s tips from the restaurant, and all of the little girl’s spare change have finally filled the little jar, they are able to buy a wonderful, comfy, warm armchair – perfect for what they were really saving up for: a soft place to rest and cuddle. The illustrations are beautiful, the sentiment is lovely – an all-around gorgeous read for anyone.