Jess Racklyeft, There’s Only One Grandma Like You, Affirm Press, March 2021, 24 pp., RRP $19.99 (hbk), ISBN 781922400680
We all need a hug right now and this book delivers them page after page, in warm colours and carefully chosen words that explore special relationships with grandmothers. Parenting can be stressful and readers will recognise the extra time, devotion and wonder a grandparent can bring. I will not be alone in shedding a quiet tear as I enjoyed this book, remembering the best of my own dear gran.
Delicate watercolour illustrations use minimal line yet achieve beautifully defined shapes that lead a gentle text through the activities grandmas are famous for: You help me feel the sunset, painted purple and gold. Songs on the pianola, dress-ups for the bold.
I love that Racklyeft choses to depict animal groups, rather than humans throughout, with a cute humour for each that avoids racial stereotyping or the possibility of saccharin over-sweetness. The tapir grandma wears bright red shoes, the splodgy green grandma frog sneaks a hidden lolly from her bag.
Delightful and a wonderful starting point for conversations about family, loss and inclusion.
Reviewed by Liz Anelli