|Image from BarnesandNoble.com|
There is nothing exciting about this little boy’s grandpa, Frank. And this is an issue for the boy because on Friday he has to give a show-and-tell presentation in class about someone in his family. He has to talk for a whole minute! He rules out his baby sister and his mother and father say, "no." That leaves Frank. All week other students give amazing show-and-tell talks about fascinating family members. The boy is distraught and although he gives his presentation, he thinks it’s pretty lame. Frank doesn’t like modern technology or fancy food or today’s music or anything but vanilla or doctors. The boy thinks all is lost, but then Frank begins to tell the class stories. Stories the boy has never heard before. Thrilling stories of battles and bravery! “And everybody cheered for my grandpa Frank and me.”
Like Mackintosh’s first book, Marshall Armstrong is New to Our School, this book features a main character who comes to the realization that unconventional does not mean something is uninteresting or boring. I couldn’t find anything on Mackintosh’s website or on the copyright page, but it seems to me the illustrations are a combination of digital and hand drawn elements with loose charcoal lines and many collage elements. The result is a vintage-y stylistic world, both detailed and impressionistic. The text and illustrations are from the boy’s point of view. As you read the book, watch as Frank changes from being rendered in mostly grays to vibrant full color. The text is conversational in tone and utilizes italics, bold, and changes in font size to give certain words or phrases emphasis.
As you read this book, take the time to talk about some of the items, vehicles, people, “gadgets and gizmos” in the illustrations, such as the gramophone, the old-fashioned camera, Frank’s ear horn, and the rug beater. Don’t point out everything the first time you read the book or else the story will get bogged down in explanation; pick a few items to highlight each time you read it. However, be prepared for kids to ask questions about the items you don’t point out. Bring in photographs or even better bring in a real-life version.
Read this for a Grandparents Day storytime. In the U.S. National Grandparents Day is on the first Sunday after Labor Day in September (for those of you reading this outside the U.S. check online because the date varies by country). Pair it with other stories about grandparents such as, Grandpa Green, Song and Dance Man or Thunder Cake.
Give your kids the same assignment as the boy in the book. Ask them to talk for one minute about one of their family members. Encourage them to choose a family member they don’t know very well. You could also have them tell a story that their family member has told them. This can be a story about something that really happened to that person or a fictional story, like a fairy tale.