CM . . .
. Volume XIII Number 16 . . . . March 30, 2007
Ruth Ohi has illustrated more than 40 children's books and is the author of six. She lives in Toronto. A Trip with Grandma is the third book with Ohi's guinea pig characters. In this book, the two young guinea pigs go on an overnight trip with their grandmother. Clara is the big sister. Sprout is her little brother.
Although Sprout likes seeing new places, he is nervous about going on his first overnight trip without his parents. He takes Flatmouse, his stuffed toy, with him. As they leave, Grandma tells Clara and Sprout that they will phone home a lot. And they do. At every stop along the way, Grandma suggests that they phone home to tell the children’s parents what is happening: they found double chocolate ice cream cones when they stopped for gas; they saw a deer in the forest as they drove by; they reached their hotel, and so on.
At dinner in the restaurant, Grandma handles the waiter's offer of a bumper seat for Sprout in such a way that Sprout doesn't feel that he's too little. Sprout begins to relax, but when it is bedtime, he becomes nervous again.
Grandma says, "Now, please wake me up if I start snoring." She and Clara fall asleep quickly, but Sprout doesn't. He keeps waking Grandma up to say that she is snoring. In the end, he suggests that he sleep with Grandma so he can be right beside her to wake her up when she snores. Grandma agrees, and Sprout is soon fast asleep.
In the morning when they are about to set off to see the giant trees, Grandma asks if they should phone home first, but Sprout says, "Let's just go."
They arrive home with apples for Mom and a flying pig yard ornament for Dad.
Ohi's watercolours make the outing with Grandma sparkle. The pictures are not cluttered, yet have interesting details such as Grandma's dangling earrings. The illustrations are worth looking at just to see the changing expressions on the characters' faces.
Ohi tells this story of an event in Sprout's "growing up" with insight. The loving support of family is evident. This is a book for adults and children to read together many times.
Jeannette Timmerman is a former teacher, consultant and administrator in The Winnipeg (MB) School Division.
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Copyright © the Manitoba Library Association. Reproduction for personal use is permitted only if this copyright notice is maintained. Any other reproduction is prohibited without permission.