Hey Grandude! (Paul McCartney)

Hello, friends! Our book today is Hey Grandude!, written by Paul McCartney (yes, THAT one) and illustrated by Kathryn Durst, a playful adventure tale with a magical twist.

On a dreary, humdrum day, Lucy, Tom, Em, and Bob are bored and listless. That is, until their grandpa – affectionately called “Grandude” – appears with a handful of postcards and a compass. Inviting his “Chillers” (grandkids) along for an adventure, Grandude is able to use the compass to whisk all five of them away to a sunny tropical beach, to play and sun the day away by the shore. That is, until an invasion of punchy crabs appears. Staying positive, Grandude uses postcard-and-compass to transport them to a dusty cowboy frontier, but it’s not long until their adventure there is interrupted as well! Third time’s the charm? Or perhaps not! No matter though – Grandude is there to get the kids back home safely and get them settled in for bed after a day of adventure and peril… before taking a well-earned rest himself.

Strange yet sweet. The legendary McCartney’s first children’s book hits the mark in a lot of ways: the series of misadventures are entertaining for little ones, and the gentle care of Grandude towards his Chillers at the end will warm adult hearts. A few of the jokes fall flat, but the dialogue and text is paced well and fun to read. The illustrations are especially standout, including the nice choice to make the family members racially diverse; a small detail, but a wonderfully welcome one. The action scenes are particularly well-done, managing to be exciting and compelling without veering scary. The length is okay; better for slightly more patient bookworms, but not overly long. JJ enjoyed this one, and we recommend it. Baby Bookworm approved!

Skyfishing (Gideon Sterer)

Hello, friends! Our book today is Skyfishing, written by Gideon Sterer and illustrated by Poly Bernatene, a unique take fantasy, fishing, and family.

When Grandpa moves in with his family in the city, he brings all of his fishing poles. Unfortunately, he quickly discovers what his granddaughter already knew: there aren’t many places to fish in the middle of a bustling metropolis. And while Grandpa tries to find new hobbies, nothing can quite replace his love of angling. So when spring rolls around, the girl has an idea: they will make-believe fish off the fire escape of their apartment. At first, they don’t catch anything at all, but soon they reel in… a plastic bag. They dub it a “flying litterfish”, and their new hobby is born. Together, they spend their time fishing for all manner of exotic city-dwelling fish, from hatfish to laundry eels to their “one that got away”: the subwayfish that lives deep underground. And by summertime, Grandpa is feeling ready to go “swimming” in the big ocean of city life.

Really lovely. While I have one minor complaint – it was unclear whether the pair were actually “catching” and reeling in other people’s belongings, which would be a bit rude – this was such a wonderfully different story with a moving lesson. When the grandfather loses a hobby that he’s clearly quite passionate about, the illustrations subtly show what a huge effect this has on his mood and outlook – a common issue with the elderly. Then, as his granddaughter engages him and encourages their imaginings together, he gains back his vigor. It’s a wonderful way of helping children identify with their older relatives and understand how to connect with them, and really sweet. The fantasy-driven illustrations are colorful and creative, inspiring a real sense of wonder. The length is fine, JJ enjoyed it, and this one was just very cool. Baby Bookworm approved!