A Grand­ma Like Yours/​A Grand­pa Like Yours

Andria Warm­flash Rosen­baum; Barb Bjorn­son, illus.
  • Review
By – October 24, 2011

Cute ani­mals, sweet thoughts and lov­ing ways inform the pre-school crowd about the var­i­ous names for grand­par­ents in Eng­lish, Hebrew and Yid­dish. Jew­ish hol­i­days and cus­toms form the set­ting for all but one exam­ple of ten­der­ness. The tar­get­ed read­ers, ages 3 to 6, will find the sit­u­a­tions amus­ing and com­fort­ing. The book is a back-to-back or flip vol­ume, half for grand­pa and half for grand­ma. Ani­mal grand­mas appear as grannies, nanas, sav­tas, bubbes and grand­moth­ers. In order: ele­phants remem­ber grandchildren’s names (trite, but read­ers are 3!), chim­panzees bake chal­lah, kan­ga­roos dance horahs at Hanukkah, dogs deliv­er Purim bas­kets, giraffes do mitzvot with soup and bun­nies make seders for crowds. Grand­fa­thers (sabas, zay­des, papas, grand­pas) are equal­ly hands-on. Lla­mas blow sho­fars, quails and snails bake kugels, zebras parade for Israel Inde­pen­dence Day, por­cu­pines help make matzah, and ground­hogs dig holes for Tu Bish­vat trees. 

Of course grand­par­ents, what­ev­er their names, do these things; ani­mals do not. But ani­mals run the gamut of adorable to adorable and always sell in children’s books — so voila! The main point is that these lov­ing animal/​adults inter­act with cute animal/​children no mat­ter what you choose to call them. This sets a tone for our chil­dren, a tone of love that car­ries into a myr­i­ad of Jew­ish set­tings and names. The text rhymes with­out too much strain. Active illus­tra­tions in mut­ed jew­el tones explain the words beyond a shred of doubt. All in all this book sweet­ly indi­cates that when warm feel­ings arise from kind actions all names are per­fect (the glos­sary explains the words in each lan­guage) and grand­par­ents rule. Ages 3 – 6.

Ellen G. Cole, a retired librar­i­an of the Levine Library of Tem­ple Isa­iah in Los Ange­les, is a past judge of the Syd­ney Tay­lor Book Awards and a past chair­per­son of that com­mit­tee. She is a co-author of the AJL guide, Excel­lence in Jew­ish Children’s Lit­er­a­ture. Ellen is the recip­i­ent of two major awards for con­tri­bu­tion to Juda­ic Librar­i­an­ship, the Fan­ny Gold­stein Mer­it Award from the Asso­ci­a­tion of Jew­ish Libraries and the Dorothy Schroed­er Award from the Asso­ci­a­tion of Jew­ish Libraries of South­ern Cal­i­for­nia. She is on the board of AJLSC.

Discussion Questions