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Book review: 'How to Babysit a Grandpa' is Utah author's new picture book

Published: Saturday, April 7 2012 4:00 p.m. MDT

"HOW TO BABYSIT A GRANDPA," by Jean Reagan, illustrated by Lee Wildish, Knopf, $16.99 (ages 4-6)

Babysitting. That takes some planning especially if you are babysitting your grandpa. “When your grandpa rings the doorbell, what should you do? HIDE!”

Then comes the hard part, staying quiet.

After your parents leave, pat your grandpa’s hand and say, “Don’t worry. They always come back.”

Following snack time, plan on taking grandpa for a walk. “When it’s cold, bundle up. When it’s sunny, sunscreen up.”

Entertaining and playing with grandpa takes plans too, but when he says, “Naptime,” reading a long book is the best way to put him to sleep.

Cleaning up before parents return follows naps, but the hardest time is goodbye time. But there’s bound to be more babysitting planned.

Salt Lake City author Jean Reagan has captured the child voice with perfection. The relationship of little boy with his grandfather is real — no patronizing phrases tucked in by an adult trying to capture the child-like quality. There’s never subtle attempts to clarify who is babysitting who; the child reader will get it.

Wildish’s animated, digitally created illustrations, even on the endpapers, complement this tender story and takes it one step further with additional characters (a kitten snoozing on grandpa’s head, lizards that appear in unlikely places) and interesting details.

“How to Babysit a Grandpa” is sure to become a favorite read-aloud, and all grandparents better have this one handy for the next babysitting session.

if you go ...

What: Jean Reagan book signing and storytelling

When: Saturday, April 14, 2 p.m.

Where: The King's English, 1511 S. 1500 East, Salt Lake City

Web: kingsenglish.com

Email: marilousorensen@ymail.com

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