How to babysit a Grandpa

How to Babysit a Grandpa by J. Reagan

Reagan, Jean. How to Babysit a Grandpa. Illus. Lee Wildish. New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 2012. Print.

Salt Lake City, Utah children’s author Jean Reagan offers a delightful and humorous read-aloud about a boy and his special relationship with his grandpa.  But just who is babysitting who?

In this fun switcheroo, a little boy’s parents go out and he is given the very serious task of babysitting his grandpa. The little boy as narrator gives plenty of tips including the types of snacks that grandpas like – anything dipped in ketchup – as well as things that grandpas like to do such as putting on a scary play or showing off your muscles. Turns out the hardest part of babysitting a grandpa is goodbye time, but as any good babysitter knows, a hug, a kiss and the promise of a future visit solves this dilemma.

Especially sweet are the reassuring remarks the boy makes to his grandpa when the parents are leaving, “Don’t worry. They always come back…” as well as the advice he provides the reader: ‘When your grandpa says “Naptime,” it’s time for his nap.’

It was interesting to watch the reactions of my own children, aged 6 and 3, as we read the story together.  My 3-year-old did not quite grasp the nuance and was therefore fairly impressed that the little boy was indeed babysitting the grandpa, while my 6-year-old ‘got it’ straightaway and relished this knowledge that she had over her little brother.  Both ages, however, enjoyed the book immensely and have requested it several times over.

Wildish’s digitally-created illustrations are fun and colourful and genuinely add to the enjoyment of the story with their tongue-in-cheek humour. Perfect for preschoolers aged 3 and up, this book would also be a fabulous Grandpa gift for birthdays or Father’s Day.

Highly recommended: 4 out of 4 stars
Reviewer: Debbie Feisst

Debbie is a Public Services Librarian at the H.T. Coutts Education Library at the University of Alberta.  When not renovating, she enjoys travel, fitness and young adult fiction.