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Nana's Summer Surprise

Overview

In this third book of related titles, our protagonist must face one more hurdle in accepting his Nana's new "family." Nana's new husband Bob has a grandaughter named Hortense. They were friends last summer - but over the winter she's changed and the tentative friendship they shared seems a thing of the past.

At the cottage again for a summer holiday, the protagonist is horrified to discover that Hortense is no longer likely to enjoy climbling trees and running around. She's ...

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Overview

In this third book of related titles, our protagonist must face one more hurdle in accepting his Nana's new "family." Nana's new husband Bob has a grandaughter named Hortense. They were friends last summer - but over the winter she's changed and the tentative friendship they shared seems a thing of the past.

At the cottage again for a summer holiday, the protagonist is horrified to discover that Hortense is no longer likely to enjoy climbling trees and running around. She's grown tall, wears skirts, and pins pictures of rock stars on her wall. Nana has deemed it "inappropriate" for them to share a room. All seems lost, until the two manage to find something to work towards together: a surprise birthday party for Nana.

This charming picture book holds a valuable lesson about getting along by finding common ground.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
Praise for Nana's Getting Married:
"...brassy chalk-pastel illustrations feature caricatures with comedic particulars...this message about open-mindedness and acceptance hits its mark."
Publishers Weekly
 
"...such a refreshing, contemporary take on an issue that lots of children have to learn to deal with: sharing the attention of an adult they love. And you don't have to be a kid to appreciate Georgia Graham's fun illustrations."
—Canadian Living
Kirkus Reviews
Cousins on either side of the puberty divide find common ground in Nana's surprise birthday party. The narrator of this tale is a youngish boy who has to contend with his blossoming cousin Hortense during a stay one summer at the family lakeside cabin. The visit might once have been cause for joy--monkeying around on the tire swing, swimming and building sand castles, picking berries, sharing a room--but that is either inappropriate or off the table, since Hortense is now a young lady (with airs to boot, though that theme is not developed, unless using a blow-dryer sums it up). Hortense doesn't want to have much to do with the no-name narrator, until out of the blue she says, "I know I haven't been playing with you as much as you'd hoped. And I'm sorry. But I have an idea." The idea is to throw Nana a birthday party, which the narrator turns into a surprise party, to everyone's delight. The story is too glancing to develop much sympathy for any of the characters--"I'm not impressed," is the narrator's refrain, along with "gross!"--and the narrator is too young to delve meaningfully into Hortense's changes. The artwork, on the other hand, is a lovely display of chalk pastel; even if the characters look like Claymation gnomes, the colors look like they are lit from within, giving a fairy-tale quality to the work. A paper-thin piece of work, which makes leaving an impression near impossible. (Picture book. 4-8)
School Library Journal
PreS-Gr 2—The blended family that came together in Nana's Getting Married (2010) and Here Comes Hortense! (2012) is back with another rite-of-passage story: the awful moment when an infrequently seen adolescent companion has suddenly grown up, leaving the younger child behind. The unnamed young boy is happy to be spending the summer with Nana and Gramps (Nana's new husband) and doesn't mind that Bob's granddaughter will be at the lake house with them. Maybe they can even do lots of fun things together. Unfortunately, Hortense has turned into a teenager and is no longer interested in any of the activities they once shared. The boy's refrains for this book are appropriately, "Gross!" and "I am not impressed!" and it seems as if the whole summer will be ruined. Then Hortense comes up with a plan to celebrate Nana's birthday and the two children find a way to work together, finally enjoying each other's company and allowing the boy to realize that he's growing up, too. Graham's wacky, exaggerated, chalk pastel illustrations amplify the text's poignant humor. Because no backstory is offered, those who are already familiar with the characters may enjoy this title more than new readers who are likely to wonder about the relationships among the boy, the grandparents, and Hortense.—Sharon Grover, Hedberg Public Library, Janesville, WI
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781770493247
  • Publisher: Tundra
  • Publication date: 4/9/2013
  • Pages: 32
  • Age range: 4 - 6 Years
  • Product dimensions: 8.30 (w) x 10.10 (h) x 0.50 (d)

Meet the Author

Heather Hartt-Sussman was born in Montreal, graduated from Brandeis University, and attended the Sorbonne. She has been a copywriter for BCP in Montreal, a reporter and an associate international editor for the Hollywood Reporter, editor-in-chief of international news for TV Guide in French Canada, where she also had a popular column, "Heather Hartt in Hollywood" for five years. Heather Hartt-Sussman lives in Toronto with her husband, sons Scotty and Jack, and the family dog.
 
Georgia Graham, born and raised in Calgary, began using artwork to entertain children in her Sunday school class. She has illustrated numerous children's books, including Wanda and the Wild Hair and Wanda and the Frogs.
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