Written by Billy Crystal, Illustrated by Elizabeth Sayles
I’m going to be your grandpa!
I have the biggest smile.
I’ve been waiting to meet you
For such a long, long while.
What made this author famous? Billy Crystal is an Emmy winning comedian, actor and former host of the Academy Awards.
The story’s narrator is very excited to become a grandfather and thinks of all the things he is looking forward to, such as hearing laughter and other baby noises. He thinks about holding the baby and about helping the older child to fish, fly a kite and study for school. He imagines playing games together and making funny faces and giving big hugs. He wants to show the world to the child, help teach her things and share his favorite foods with her. He remembers taking his own daughter to her first movie and he wants to do the same for his granddaughter. He wants to take her to baseball games and share family pictures and watch her grow.
As you may imagine, author Billy Crystal wrote this book as a gift for his first grandchild while he was waiting for her to be born. There are a couple of extra verses on the book’s endpapers, which may have been intended to be the actual first lines of the book, but they kind of feel like they were tacked on after the fact. The rhymes here are a little awkward in a few places, but the sentiment behind them is very touching and comes through as so genuine and heartfelt that I was willing to overlook the lines that didn’t work as well.
The artwork, from illustrator Elizabeth Sayles, is all warmth and softness and follows the grandfather’s imagination from the arrival of the new baby through all the experiences he is looking forward to sharing with her as she grows. Look for a stuffed monkey to show up at different moments in during her life and then, in a very cute touch, turn out to be the gift that her grandfather gives her when she’s born. A follow-up to this book, called Grandpa’s Little One, was published in 2006 and tells the story of his granddaughter’s first year.
And what did we learn? What I take away from this book is that being a grandparent is such a tremendous joy and definitely worth the wait.