Tales of a Gambling Grandma

Overview

The grandma of this story is different. Not many grandmas teach their granddaughters how to play poker, or take train rides across the country, bathing in fresh orange juice. But this grandma is also not so different. Together grandma and granddaughter go to the movies, drink tea at a Chinese food restaurant, and see a vaudeville show that stars a beer-drinking hippo. Everyday they have lunch together, and grandma tells the story of her life. This is an off-beat, heartwarming tale narrated by a little girl whose ...
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Overview

The grandma of this story is different. Not many grandmas teach their granddaughters how to play poker, or take train rides across the country, bathing in fresh orange juice. But this grandma is also not so different. Together grandma and granddaughter go to the movies, drink tea at a Chinese food restaurant, and see a vaudeville show that stars a beer-drinking hippo. Everyday they have lunch together, and grandma tells the story of her life. This is an off-beat, heartwarming tale narrated by a little girl whose grandmother is her best friend.

Reminiscences of a grandmother who came to this country from Russia, married a plumber, gambled to earn extra money, and formed a strong bond with her young granddaughter.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
“This is a beautiful book, filled with charm and wit and wisdom…such a fine and loving sense of detail, such mastery of storytelling.”
New York Times Book Review
Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
It's hard to know just what to make of this Grandmashe must be the least conventional grandparent in all of children's books. Her granddaughter narrates the tale of how Grandma left Russia and came to Brooklyn, where she married a man who was Dutch Schultz's plumber. That didn't bring in enough money, so Grandma took up poker. ``She was very goodsharp-eyed and quick with her hand. She could mark a card with her fingernail, and hide aces in her sleeve.'' There's no mention, of course, that in some circles this is called cheating, and strangely, the reader doesn't mind too much. Khalsa's paintings are splendidprimitive folk art meets Coney Island. The childlike point-of-view is right on the mark (or the money; Grandma never loses a game). Subject matter aside, this is a wonderfully odd book. Perhaps parents who read this will find a way to modify Grandma's dubious dealings. (All ages)
School Library Journal
K-Gr 3 Khalsa has written in an honest, matter-of-fact style a loving childhood reminiscence of her grandmother, a Russian immigrant who settled in Brooklyn and a fun-loving companion whose stories of her life's events are as entertaining as they are fantastic. The author's grandmother spouts ``Laws of Life'' (``Don't worry. Sooner or later for every pot there's a lid.''), teaches her granddaughter to play poker and blackjack, and makes being sick in bed an adventure, just as she gives a special glow of excitement to everything she does. The story is enlivened by many large, brightly-colored paintings whose crisp white borders highlight eye-catching details and add depth to the personalities of both grandmother and grandchild. This bittersweet recollection of the love and trust shared by grandmother and child provides a poignant tale for both children and adults. Susan Scheps, Bertram Woods Library, Shaker Heights, Ohio
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780887763359
  • Publisher: Tundra
  • Publication date: 10/28/1994
  • Pages: 32
  • Sales rank: 1,371,109
  • Age range: 6 - 9 Years
  • Product dimensions: 8.18 (w) x 10.01 (h) x 0.12 (d)

Meet the Author

Dayal Kaur Khalsa both wrote and illustrated picture books that celebrate the joys in life: the love between grandparents and grandchildren, the togetherness of a family holiday, the ingenuity of a girl who wants a dog, the thrill of discovering a new and delicious food. Her books have won numerous awards, including being chosen twice for the New York Times Best Illustrated Books of the Year and twice as a finalist for the Governor General’s Literary Award. Dayal Kaur Khalsa died in 1989.
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