It’s Not My Turn to Look for Grandma

August 25, 2008 @ 6:34 am | Filed under: Books, Picture Book Spotlight

Is that not the best title ever? I originally posted this picture book review in February, 2005. I’m reposting it now because this book is no longer in print, and I want you to grab it if you ever spot it in a library sale. (I believe you can still get it through the author’s website, too, and there’s even a version on CD which includes other stories and music. Note to self: remember this at Christmastime.)

It’s Not My Turn to Look for Grandma by April Halprin Wayland, illustrated by George Booth. George Booth!

Grandma3Dawn was just cracking over the hills. Ma was splitting kindling on the back porch.

“Woolie!” she called out. “Where in the hickory stick is Grandma?”

“Dunno,” said Woolie. “It’s not my turn to look for Grandma!”

I’ve been reading this book to my kids for eight or nine eleven or twelve years, and it still makes us all giggle. April Halprin Wayland (author of another of our family favorites, the quiet and lovely To Rabbittown), depicts this quirky backwoods family with wit and warmth, and George Booth’s illustrations are a hoot. Ma, a hardworking backwoods mother, needs Grandma’s help and keeps sending the kids to fetch her—but Grandma’s too busy sliding down the haystack with her dirty old dog, or doing something similarly outlandish. She’s never too busy, however, for a banjo band…

The rollicking text is a joy to read aloud. The writing is fresh and lively, and the characters are pure originals—especially that dirty old dog and a pair of disreputable porcupines. George Booth’s art, which would be hilarious even without the words, captures them perfectly. If I had to narrow down our picture book collection to ten titles (horrific thought!), this one would make the cut for its never-fail ability to invoke the belly-laughs I love.

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5 Responses | | Comments Feed

  1. We have this book and love it, too! I picked it up from a Literary Festival in Long Beach CA where the author spoke – easily 12 + years ago. It was before I even had kids, but loved the book anyway. I think I’ll go pull it off the shelf for another read…

  2. A great recommendation–thank you!!

  3. One of my favorite books ever! I stopped by the children’s section of our library the other day and realized all the great picture books I’m going to miss now that both kids are taller than me…

    May I also recommend two other “musical” comedy books, if you haven’t already found them?

    *The Ballymara Flood by Chad Stuart (of the 60s duo Chad and Jeremy), also out of print and also illustrated by George Booth

    *Mama Don’t Allow by Thatcher Hurd (son of Goodnight Moon’s Clement Hurd).

    So much fun to read aloud! I probably enjoyed them even more than the kids.

    Kathy Ceceri (the Home Chemistry gal)

  4. Oh, we love this book! It’s right up there with Possum Come A-Knockin’ for us! (Another gem illustrated by George Booth.)

  5. Dear Melissa,

    Help! You were wonderful enough to recommend my book in August and I have gotten a slew of orders! But there’s a problem with the order form on my website and the orders come in all jumbled with a bunch of random letters. I can’t even email them to say I didn’t get their order.

    I’ve deleted every order form I can find on my site…but there seems to be a rogue form that is hiding that people keep finding and ordering from.

    So…can you post something like the info below? I would be forever grateful!

    If you ordered IT’S NOT MY TURN TO LOOK FOR GRANDMA! from April Halprin Wayland’s website, her order form is broken and she didn’t get your order. Please email her at