My GrandMom (Gee-eun Lee)

Hello, friends! First, let me apologize for the recent inconsistency in our reviews – as the fall semester has worn on, we are having trouble posting in a timely manner. Please be patient with us, and we will hopefully be back to our regular schedule within the next few weeks.

But for today, we wanted to bring you a review of the delightful and touching My GrandMom, written and illustrated by Gee-eun Lee and translated by Sophie Bowman, a tender look at the special relationship between grandmothers and their grandkids.

Based on the author/illustrator’s experiences with her own GrandMom – or Halmoni – the reader quickly learns that little Gee-eun and her Halmoni have a special bond. When Gee-eun is upset, Halmoni can soothe her with warm comfort food and fantastical stories. When Gee-eun worries that her mother won’t be able to attend Family Sports Day, Halmoni assures her of the elder’s grace and athletic ability. Yet when the two compete at the aforementioned event, Halmoni and Gee-eun are not able to win the race. Still, Halmoni does what GrandMoms do best: finds a way to turn the day around with kindness, love, and a comforting snack.

Equal parts entertaining and touching. Lee’s personal connection to the work shines in every facet, from the strikingly realistic details of the interactions between Gee-eun and Halmoni, to the whimsical and warm childlike illustrations. To me, the best part is how the story manages to show that Halmoni is human and imperfect while also illustrating what a special place she holds in Gee-eun’s life and heart. It’s a honest look at our relationships with the people we love; sometimes they try their best but let us down, still we love them all the same. The length is fine for a storytime, and JJ loved the combo of peaceful story and lively illustrations. Overall, a lovely treat, and we recommend it – Baby Bookworm approved!

(Note: A copy of this book was provided to The Baby Bookworm by a representative of the publisher in exchange for an honest review.)

Leave Me Alone! (Vera Brosgol)

Hello, friends! Today, we read a lovely book called Leave Me Alone! by Vera Brosgol, a clever yet sentimental book that shows why everyone needs some alone time.

A little old grandmother lives in the forest in a small house – but with a BIG family. With winter approaching, she has some very serious knitting to do. Unfortunately, the constant interruptions by her thirty grandchildren are making it impossible. So the grandmother packs her bags and heads off to find a quiet spot to do her work, but with zero luck! Will she ever be able to finish her knitting? And, more importantly, will she ever return home?

This is one of those books that is fun and entertaining for little ones, but subtly imparts an important message: namely, that it is incredibly difficult to get some types of things done with lots of people and distractions around. I loved that at the end, once the grandmother had finished her knitting (which was sweaters for her thirty grandchildren), she actually longed for the presence of her family again. It showed that needing alone time doesn’t mean that the person doesn’t like you or want to be around you, just that sometimes people need or want to be on their own for a bit. A clever message within a funny and entertaining story, fantastic illustrations, and a good length for little ones. Loved it! Baby Bookworm approved!