Gwendolyn Grace

Book review by
Patricia Tauzer, Common Sense Media
Gwendolyn Grace Book Poster Image
Bouncy big sis learns to tone down noise for new baby.

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A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this book.

Educational Value

Shows what it's like to have a new baby in the house. Provides an opportunity to talk about what it means to be patient, especially when there's a sleeping baby at home.

Positive Messages

Though impulses can be hard to control, kids can learn to be patient -- and quiet at times. Thinking of others makes the family work better together. Kids respond best when rules are explained rather than merely enforced.

Positive Role Models & Representations

Though Gwendolyn Grace tries one thing after another to test her mother while the baby is sleeping, she does cooperate. She's playful and finally realizes that if she can just be patient, they'll all have fun in the end, once naptime's over. The mother takes time to explain the rule when it seems that Gwendolyn has a problem getting it right. 

Violence & Scariness
Language

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that Gwendolyn Grace, by bestselling author Katherine Hannigan (Ida B.), is a light, bright, bouncy book about one big sister (an alligator in a pink tutu) adjusting to a new baby in the house -- and especially the need for quiet during naptime. The story is a simple series of too-noisy activities as Gwendolyn tests her mom's new rule until finally she learns that if she's a little patient, they'll all have fun in the end. A great book for kids adjusting to a new infant sibling.

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What's the story?

GWENDOLYN GRACE has a hard time when it comes to toning down her rambunctious spirit, even when the new baby is sleeping. As her mother calls from the other room, the bouncy little alligator in a pink tutu moves from swinging on the chandelier, playing music in the kitchen, sledding down the stairs, jumping on the bed, and so on, each time asking her mother, "Is this what you mean?" Finally, the mother with babe in arms calls Gwendolyn to her and explains exactly what she means and promises when baby wakes they all can play together. That does the trick: Gwendolyn whispers, baby sleeps, and plenty of noisy fun follows when naptime's over. 

Is it any good?

This light, bright bouncy story about a rambunctious little alligator in a pink tutu would be a perfect read for anyone introducing a new baby to a slightly older sibling. The text is simple, playful, and fun, brought to life by the stream of energetic, expressive watercolor illustrations. Readers will want to join the boisterous Gwendolyn as she marches around the kitchen or slides down the steps. And they'll feel how hard it is for her when her mother tells her time and again that she must quiet down. The resolution is positive for all, and big sister learns an important lesson about being patient.  

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about the rules they have that help them all get along better as a family. When is it important to be quiet? What kind of play is better for outside? How are the rules made? What do you do if you don't understand what's OK and what's not OK?

  • How did the author show you what Gwendolyn Grace was feeling? What do you notice about her face, eyes, and body in each of the paintings? When she's swinging on the chandelier or bouncing on the bed? When her mother tells her over and over to be quiet? 

  • What did Gwendolyn Grace learn about being patient? Do you think waiting will be easy for her? How would you feel if your mom asked you to be quiet around the new baby? How about other times when you have to wait to do what's fun? How do you handle it?

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