Review Blog

Jan 23 2013

Granny Grommet and me by Dianne Wolfer and Karen Blair

cover image

Walker Books, 2013. ISBN 978 1 921720 16 1.
(Age: 5+) Highly recommended. Picture book. Overcoming fear. Grandmothers. The child in this delightful picture book fears the water. Often going with Granny to the beach with her friends, the Granny Grommets, she sees them riding the waves, ducking, diving, twisting and turning as they surf in the bay. The child stays on the shore with the dog, watching. Sometimes she ventures into the edge of the water, but jumps back to shore when something touches her legs. Slowly the grandmothers urge her to take to the water. First they sit in the shallow rock pool, making sure she feels safe and comfortable, then the larger pool that is the ocean is braved, when with goggles and the four women nearby she looks at what the ocean offers.
The child in the story is not given a name and could be a boy or girl,  so will be accepted by all readers: a child fearing something and being helped to overcome that fear gently and with support.
The superb illustrations carry the text beautifully, the use of water colour with chinagraph pencil, aptly showing the beach and its movement as the child and the older women tackle the problem. The four women in their various swimsuits and then wet suits are just wonderful, their lolly legs striding the sand with confidence, their belief that the child will come in too, paramount. There are touches which I really enjoyed: the larger sized print on each page, the four colours used to differentiate the four women, the observed animals, the seagulls, the dog and the life beneath the waves. Both the story and its illustrations are just lovely and will be used by both parents and teachers to tell of someone else's fears, and how they were overcome and to showcase a day at the beach. And above all that, to tell a great story and share the luminous illustrations.
Fran Knight

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