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Our Granny


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About the Author

JULIE VIVAS is illustrator of I Went Walking, Let's Go Visiting, the Mem Fox classics Wilfrid Gordon McDonald Partridge and Possum Magic, and several other picture book titles. She lives in Australia. Margaret Wild is a children's book editor as well as an acclaimed writer for children. She currently lives in Australia.


Australian duo Wild and Vivas ( The Very Best of Friends ; Let the Celebrations Begin! ) work their own special blend of magic in this affectionate ode to grandmothers of all sizes and hues. Here, a boy and a girl tell about grannies in general and their own in particular, from the way grannies dress--whether in ``jeans and sneakers,'' ``silky dresses'' or ``baggy underwear''--to what they do (``fix the plumbing,'' ``march in demonstrations,'' ``play in a band''). These are grannies for the '90s, active, vigorous women whose lives dispel traditional beliefs about aging. Wild's prose packs a punch (``Our granny does special exercises to make her bottom smaller'') and, as always, Vivas's watercolors are brimming with humanity. There are no hard edges in the world she conjures; the grannies are real, flesh-and-blood women whose soft, rounded shapes speak of hugs and laughter and love. It's a splendid collaboration and an especially fine tool for sparking preschool and early-elementary discussions about families. Ages 4-7. (Mar.)

PreS-K-``Some grannies live, big old houses, old people's homes, little rooms in the city, trailers.... Our granny lives with us in our house.'' Grandmotherly characteristics (interesting hair, crinkly eyes, friendly smiles); clothing (blue jeans, silky dresses, big bras, high heels); occupations (driving a truck, plumbing, working in an office); and ways of kissing (big sloppy ones, none at all) are catalogued. Eight to ten possibilities alternate with the comfortable, one-sentence statements of two children about their own relative. The lists are varied enough to stimulate the imagination and, combined with the return to a personal point of view, avoid the dullness often found in repetitive formats. The text is large and clear. Vivas's translucent watercolor figures, surrounded by ample white space, spread over the pages and emphasize shape and movement. The perspectives are interesting-Granny marching in a demonstration is seen from above; there is a closeup of the heads and shoulders of three pursed-lipped grandmothers, one kissing the cheek of a delighted toddler. A variety of women-black, white, hip, punk, and traditional-are depicted with warmth and humor, yet all have a lumpy, rounded, saggy-baggy appearance. An affectionate book that affirms the endless diversity of people, life styles, and families.-Karen James, Louisville Free Public Library, KY

"From the intimacy of one family to the rich diversity of all kinds of people, this exuberant picture book celebrates grandmothers, and it does so without earnest messages or reverential role models . . . Grannies can be glamorous, cuddly, vain, or outrageous. . . . This is what family values is all about." Booklist, ALA, Starred Review

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