4 out of 4 stars
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Grandmas are magical creatures, both in good and bad ways. They're terrific at spoiling children, but they're also spectacular at giving them love. In today's fast-paced world, sometimes it's difficult for parents to slow down and just spend time with their kids, and sometimes it takes a grandma (or grandpa, but this book isn't about them!) to make sure children are getting everything they need. That's the focus of Grandma Hearts: Bedtime by Dionne Kelm - ensuring children are properly taken care of before bed.
In Grandma Hearts: Bedtime, a little boy recalls his sleeping routine. Grandma checks to make sure his hands, face, and teeth are clean, the toys from the day are all picked up and then reads him a story! She also tells him how much she loves him and what a special treat he is to her and his parents. This is all done in 4-line, rhyming stanzas that flow beautifully.A number of years ago, Grandma Dionne was on a local school board, when a questionnaire went out to the teachers of Watertown. One main concern that kept popping up was that many children did not have a regular bedtime routine. Children weren't brushing their teeth, getting tucked in and read to before bed, or getting the attention that every child deserves! So, she thought to herself, "What could I do to help with that? I could write a book! (Easier said than done!) Then along the way she became a Grandma and Grandma Hearts was born!
In a world that still celebrates the positivity and kindness of Mr. Rogers, Bob Ross, and others like them, a sweet, kind, loving book like this is a breath of fresh air. Too many parents get focused on the numerous things in their lives (or just playing on Facebook) and end up doing all the things they feel their kids need, but don't realize they're being neglectful by not telling them stories (like this one!) before bed or making sure they've washed their hands and brushed their teeth among other things.
Mary Manning did a terrific job with the illustrations as well. Each page is full of bright, cheery, warm images brimming with joy. It felt like looking through an illustrated version of an old, cherished photo album rather than a children's book! And I think it's awesome that there's a heart hidden on each page to find, it encourages children to look closer at the pages and interact.
I ended up reviewing a hardcover copy of this book, which is the only form it's available in, and it's fantastic. The covers are very solid - you can hear knocking on it from other rooms in the house! - and the pages are very thick. This means that the entire thing is very durable and can be read over and over again.
Grandma Hearts: Bedtime is a terrific book for anyone who wants a sweet book to read to their children or even to be reminded of the importance of spending time with them. The writing is certainly simple enough for kids to learn with, and I saw no errors whatsoever. It's very easy for me to recommend it to parents or grandparents (unless maybe your child has a jerk for a grandmother or someone you'd otherwise not want to remember). In fact, I enjoyed it so much that I'm already looking into the two sequels in the series - Grandma Hearts: Grandmas and Grandma Hearts: Beaches. My fiancé's sister is expecting a baby in February of 2019 and we live with her mom, so they'll all make terrific gifts and are lovely for us as well. I'm giving the book 4 out of 4 stars, and it was one of the easiest choices I've ever made!
'Grandma Hearts: Bedtime'
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