Author: Naomi Danis
Illustrator: Junghwa Park
Publisher: POW!, 2019
Themes: family, multigenerational life, responsibility
Opening: Grandpa comes to visit on Sunday. He brings salami, rye bread, mustard, and pickles for the whole family.
Summary: (from the publisher) Gilbert spends a sunny summer afternoon obediently keeping watch over his napping grandpa to shoo the pesky flies away. Unsure of exactly how long he’s really supposed to sit there, watching for non-existent bugs, he passes time contemplating his ever-changing family: His grandma Sarah recently died, a new baby is on the way, his siblings and cousins race in and out. While the temptations to abandon his post beckon, Gilbert’s loyalty to his grandpa stays true, and his quiet dedication finds a sweet reward.
I read this book because: someone recommended it, so I also looked for a Kirkus review that lead with a strange remark: “Typographically overdesigned …”. I have to admit that was hook enough for me (reformed graphic designer) to search it out! But first off, the illustrations are so charming, I would have read it anyway! And while the text positioning may seem unconventional, I thought it in no way detracted from the story, in fact it was easier to read than so many others that add multiple blocks of text across a spread. And I enjoyed the font choice too! Aside from all that the story charmed my socks off! The more I read the closer I felt to the main character, despite never having had a similar experience. Now I long for a snooze in a hammock – and salami on rye with mustard!
Resources/activities: make a list of things kids know about their grandparents, including all the senses! (I cannot think of my father’s father without smelling his pipe!); have a garden picnic. Watermelon is a must – and at least try a version of Grandpa’s sandwich: salami on rye with mustard and pickles!
For more Perfect Picture Book Friday picks with teacher/parent resources, check out the list on Susanna Hill’s blog HERE.