My Grandma is Coming to Town


When a familiar phone voice is suddenly there in person, little Albert develops a major case of shyness, but it’s nothing that sharing some favorite rhymes can’t cure.

Hark, hark, the dogs do bark,
My grandma is coming to town.
She’ll fly in a great big airplane,
Up in the air and down.

Even though Grandma...

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When a familiar phone voice is suddenly there in person, little Albert develops a major case of shyness, but it’s nothing that sharing some favorite rhymes can’t cure.

Hark, hark, the dogs do bark,
My grandma is coming to town.
She’ll fly in a great big airplane,
Up in the air and down.

Even though Grandma lives far away, Albert loves talking to her on the phone and receiving the gifts she sends in the mail. So he’s thrilled that Grandma is coming to visit - until the moment she arrives, when he suddenly feels strangely shy. But thanks to their favorite rhymes and a bit of make-believe, a long-distance grandma becomes a wonderful reality in this sweet, cheerily illustrated story about a special family tie.

Albert and his grandma have a special long-distance relationship, but when she comes to visit, it takes him a little while to overcome his shyness.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
In Hines's (My Own Big Bed) sympathetic and developmentally astute story, young Albert, the narrator, discovers that a grandma in person trumps a long-distance grandma any day. Albert hasn't seen his "Pat-a-Cake Grandma" since his baby days, but he cherishes his memories of playing the game with her ("I could only say, `Patta patta, rolla rolla' ") and when she calls, they have a special "telephone game" (she says, "Patta patta" and he answers, "Rolla rolla"). But when Grandma shows up in person on his doorstep, Albert needs time to adjust: "She sounded like my Pat-a-Cake Grandma, only closer. I wanted to say `Rolla rolla,' but my mouth couldn't. I was too shy of this grandma." Sweet's (Fiddle-I-Fee) cheery acrylics and pencil illustrations convey Albert's conflicting emotions with aplomb. He covers his eyes in a futile attempt to disappear, then hides behind his stuffed dog. Author and artist do not belabor Albert's struggle to reconcile Grandma-the-idea vs. Grandma-in-the-flesh, nor do they bring in the grownups to intervene. Instead, they wisely allow Albert to overcome his reticence all by himself: he calls Grandma on his toy phone (Grandma answers with a nearby banana) and joyfully confirms that the wonderful voice he hears belongs to the nice lady in the chair next to him, "My real Pat-a-Cake Grandma." Albert's savvy self-sufficiency should leave youngsters beaming with approval-and perhaps they will discover its application in their own lives. Ages 3-6. (Apr.) Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information.
Children's Literature
Grandma lives far away and hasn't seen her grandson, Albert, in a long time. When Albert is a baby, Grandma visits him and teaches him to play "Pat-a-cake." After she goes home, his version "Patta, patta" and "Rolla, rolla" becomes their special greeting on the telephone. They not only talk regularly, they send each other notes and surprises. Finally, one day Grandma sends Albert a variation on a nursery rhyme to let him know she will soon fly to see him on a big airplane. Albert is eager to see her and makes a fancy welcome sign for her. But when she shows up, he suddenly feels very shy and he can't talk to her. Grandma understands and doesn't push him. Before too long, Albert figures out what to do. He calls her on his toy phone. She answers, using a banana from a nearby bowl of fruit as her telephone. After they've gone through their "Patta, patta" "Rolla, rolla" routine, Albert's shyness is gone. The author, who has written or illustrated more than 50 books for children, has a grandson who lived far away when he was born and she taught him "Pat-a-cake." When she was reading another story aloud to children, their comments about distant grandparents inspired this story. Ms. Sweet, who has illustrated numerous books, says because she was a shy child, she could understand what Arthur was feeling and that empathy shows in her drawings. 2003, Candlewick Press,
— Janet Crane Barley
School Library Journal
PreS-Gr 2-Albert has not seen his grandmother since he was a baby. However, they have spoken on the phone often and formed a special bond. One day, he receives a letter from her, telling him that she will soon visit. The boy is very excited until she actually arrives, and then he is shy. He does not remember her and is too apprehensive to even look at her. After giving him a little time to warm up, Grandma helps him overcome his fears by reciting the familiar greeting that she always shares with him on the phone. Done in acrylic and colored pencil, the illustrations are filled with vibrant colors balanced by backgrounds in paler hues. The simple and uncluttered style of the artwork emphasizes the relationship between the two main characters and the family's welcoming preparations. In today's mobile society, many children do not live close enough to see their grandparents on a regular basis, and this book does an excellent job of addressing that issue.-Sheilah Kosco, Rapides Parish Library, Alexandria, LA Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information.
Kirkus Reviews
This joyous story impressively invokes a toddler's love for his distant Grandma. They have a very special relationship carried out primarily by phone. When the little narrator was a baby, he says, his Grandma came to visit and taught him the pat-a-cake rhyme. Then he could only say "Patta patta, rolla rolla." Now they have a cherished ritual: "when Grandma calls on the phone, she still says, 'Patta patta.' 'Rolla rolla,' I say." He points out that though grandma lives too far away to give him real kisses and hugs, " . . . she puts lots of X kisses and O hugs in her letters." So when Grandma writes that she is coming for a visit, he can hardly wait. When the day finally arrives, he is surprised to find that it feels so strange. She looks like grandma, but different, and though she offers a "Patta patta," she sounds just a little wrong and too shy of her, he can't bring himself to respond. The boy soon figures out what he needs to smooth the transition and with grandma sitting right next to him, he pretends to call her on the phone. It isn't long before they are thoroughly enjoying the visit, this time with real hugs and kisses. For so many children whose favorite family members live far away, Hines (Whistling, below, etc.) handles this issue with style, never forgetting to give kids credit for solving problems. (Picture book. 2-4)
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780763612375
  • Publisher: Candlewick Press
  • Publication date: 3/15/2003
  • Edition description: 1ST
  • Pages: 24
  • Age range: 3 - 7 Years
  • Product dimensions: 9.37 (w) x 10.12 (h) x 0.35 (d)

Meet the Author

Anna Grossnickle Hines has written or illustrated more than fifty books for children. Among her inspirations for MY GRANDMA IS COMING TO TOWN is her first grandson, who lived far away when he was born. She couldn’t visit him very often, but once when she did, she taught him how to play pat-a-cake, and he always associated her with the game afterward. Later, when the author was reading one of her books about a grandmother to a group of children, one mentioned that her grandmother lived far away, while another said, "My grandpa flies on a big airplane." That was the beginning of this story.

Melissa Sweet lives in Maine with her family and her dog, Rufus, who sometimes gives her nose kisses. She is the illustrator of numerous books for children, including LOVE AND KISSES and ON CHRISTMAS DAY IN THE MORNING. About this book she says, "When I was little, I was very shy when company came over, so I completely understood Albert’s dilemma. I had a favorite stuffed sheep I probably hid behind. Luckily, Albert has Nosey."

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