My boys are big book lovers and so I appreciate it when I discover a picture book that helps my boys learn some valuable life lessons as well as entertaining them. The picture books from Heather Hartt-Sussman sounded like just the type of books I love and I was delighted when I received Nana’s Getting Married and Here Comes Hortense! to enjoy with my sons.
We read Nana’s Getting Married Gets first. This book tells the story of Nana, the best grandmother in the whole world. Until she gets a new boyfriend named Bob, that is! Suddenly, instead of baking cookies and knitting sweaters for her adorable grandson, she’s putting on makeup and singing love songs!
My boys especially loved hearing about the ways that the poor little boy tried to get rid of Bob. From pretending to be a ghost to running away from home to sharing all the intimate details of Nana’s health problems with Bob, he had plenty of creativity when it came to getting things back to normal. But in the end, he realized that Nana and Bob really are happy and that they both want to spend time with him. This book really emphasised the idea that change, while scary, can bring lots of wonderful things.
The following night we read Here Comes Hortense! This book continues the story of Nana, her grandson and Bob. The three of them are heading to WonderWorld theme park, but when they arrive, Bob’s granddaughter Hortense joins them. And suddenly, she’s taking up all of Nana’s time!
My boys especially related to the saga of the pink bunny in this book. When Nana won a large pink bunny at a ring toss game, she immediately gave it to Hortense. Neither of the boys won anything, but Hortense won a giant giraffe and, when told she had to share, gave the pink bunny to Nana’s poor grandson! While Zackary and Benjamin found the concept hilarious, they also really felt for the poor boy that had to accept a pink toy!
Here Come Hortense! dealt a lot with the feelings of jealousy that children sometimes feel and with the concept of empathy, something I think is always important to encourage in children. It wasn’t until Nana’s grandson started thinking about Hortense’s feelings that he realized both of them were sharing a favourite grandparent. The revelation helped the two children to end their animosity and enjoy the rest of their time at WonderWorld. And in the end, they even traded their toys, ridding the boy of the pink bunny!
Both of these books were very entertaining for my boys, had fun and vibrant illustrations by Georgia Graham and communicated important messages about considering others and dealing with jealousy. They were great for bedtime reading and I liked pointing out parallels between the boy in the story and my own boys to help them better understand their own feelings. Check out these fun books from Heather Hartt-Sussman for yourself and enjoy some amusing and meaningful reading with your kids!