Review Blog

Apr 30 2014

Jam for Nana by Deborah Kelly

cover image

Ill. by Lisa Stewart. Random House, 2014. ISBN 9780857980014.
(Age: 3-7) Grandmothers, Babysitting, Reminiscences. Going to Nana's house means making pancakes. The narrator in the story loves doing this with the older woman, spreading the jam to the edge of the pancake, using her spoon to make it smooth. Then the pancake is rolled up tightly, sprinkled with sugar and eaten. But Nana is a little disappointed, as she can remember when the jam had real apricots in it and would cling to the spoon when turned over, and tasted like the sun.
Nana has not tasted anything like this real jam since she left her home over the seas, and so the little girl decides to get some for her Nana. She makes labels for the jam for her Nana, jam which will have real apricots in it, and not fall off the spoon, and most importantly taste like a hundred summers.
I found this story rather unusual, and I read it several times, thinking I had missed out a page as the leap from the child wanting to help Nana taste the jam of her youth and actually doing it was very quick.
The soft pencil illustrations suit the story well, showing the child and her Nana as they work together in the kitchen and talk of how far away her original home is, but how I wished that the apricot tree could have looked like an apricot tree.
This is a tale to use with small children, increasingly having their grandparents look after them when their parents work, or who take on full responsibility for them, a growing trend within Australia.
Fran Knight

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