Review of I Really Want to See You, Grandma

I Really Want to See You, Grandma
by Taro Gomi; illus. by the author
Preschool     Chronicle     40 pp.
4/18     978-1-4521-6158-7     $16.99

Here is a sweet and funny picture book (first published forty years ago in Japan) about missed connections, determination, and intergenerational devotion. “Yumi’s house is on a hill. It has a pink roof. Grandma’s house is on a mountain. It has an orange roof.” The opening double-page spread sets the scene, with Yumi’s house on the very left of the spread and Grandma’s on the far right edge. (Gomi uses a wide, long landscape trim size and, indeed, the picture-book form to great effect throughout.) One day, girl and grandmother impulsively set out to see the other, but they keep passing each other as they travel in opposite directions. Every time they discover that they’ve missed each other, they become more and more determined to meet, and their various modes of transportation become progressively more adventurous (and, not coincidentally, child appealing). First, the usual bus and train; then a boldly hailed cab and an unexpected lift in a truck carrying a cow (who licks Yumi’s face at the critical passing-Grandma moment, obscuring her view); and finally a scooter and a motorbike. At last, to their great joy (“Grandma!” “Yumi!”), they meet in the exact middle of their two houses and happily picnic together under a tree. Warm colors draw viewers in to enjoy all the action and situational humor, while the repetition in the brief but extremely effective text makes it work for both very young listeners and newly independent readers. Another gem from picture-book master Gomi, now fortunately available to English-speaking readers and listeners.

From the July/August 2018 issue of The Horn Book Magazine.
Martha V. Parravano
Martha V. Parravano
Martha V. Parravano is book review editor of The Horn Book, Inc., and co-author of the Calling Caldecott blog.

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