Written by Jean Reagan, Illustrated by Lee Wildish
Alfred A. Knopf, 2012
Babysitting a grandpa is fun – if you know how.
The plot in a nutshell: A boy offers advice for taking care of visiting grandfathers
The first piece of advice is to hide when your grandpa rings the doorbell and stay quiet while he’s looking for you. You should announce your location as soon as he gives up. When you parents leave, reassure your grandpa that they’ll come back. He makes suggestions for snacks to share, ways to entertain grandpa and things you can do together. When Grandpa says ‘naptime,’ you should stay awake while he sleeps, since you’re taking care of him. Draw a picture for him while he naps, then wake him up with a song. Let him help you clean up and then hide together when your parents come home. When your grandpa has to go home, give him a hug and kiss and offer to babysit him again anytime.
Author Jean Reagan interviewed lots of kids and grandparents when doing the research for this book and she watched her own children playing with their grandfather. The result was a long list of activities that kids and grandparents enjoy and she included as many as she could in this book, which has a lot of fun with role reversal. Grandpa in this story sure is up for all sorts of fun, which made me wish that I had had a grandfather when I was a little girl.
Lee Wildish’s digital artwork makes this whole babysitting playdate seem absolutely delightful, giving Grandpa a sweet round face, a perpetual smile and a cozy sweater. Be sure to keep your eyes on the lizards that come home with them on their walk. They are up to no good in the background for the rest of the book. This book is sweet and fun and would be a perfect book for grandparents and kids to read together. A companion book called How to Babysit a Grandma was published in 2014.
And what did we learn? What I take away from this book is that grandpas can be hard work, but they’re almost always worth it.