By Daniel Gray-Barnett
$24.99, hardcover, Scribble (Scribe Publications)
The outrageous title character of this eye-catching debut picture book is a contender to join the ranks of such memorable figures as Nanny McPhee and Mary Poppins. She has a quirky, commanding presence – she’ll take her grandson (Albert) on spectacular adventures but always deliver him home safe – and she’ll fulfil his most absurd and delicious wishes – and ride a motorbike, to boot. The striking contrast between this and Albert’s strict, neat-freak parents (who think socks and toast are suitable birthday fanfare) is fun in its hyperbole and perfectly matched by the illustrations, which are full of movement but unexpectedly stick exclusively to a bright orange, blue, black and white colour palette. It makes for a striking risograph-like look, and has a nostalgic, retro feel – a little ‘Moomin’, perhaps. The story is an appropriately imaginative endorsement of the liberating power of imagination, which is Grandma’s true gift to Albert. The only question is… is it Grandma Zee or Grandma Zed?
Angie Schiavone has a Master of Arts in Children's Literature and is the former children's book reviewer for The Sydney Morning Herald. She has been a judge for the NSW Premier's Literary Awards, a restaurant reviewer and editor for the Good Food Guide, and a cookbook editor. She's also a mum to two book and food-loving kids.
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