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Hey Grandude!

Book review by
Regan McMahon, Common Sense Media
Hey Grandude! Book Poster Image
Grandfather takes kids to far-away places in magical romp.

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A lot or a little?

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

Educational Value

Shows some aspects of life in other places, like what animals live there and what the landscape looks like. Subtly promotes a positive view of exploring new places and foreign lands. Introduces a few vocabulary words like "Appaloosa" (a type of horse), "horizon," "lassoed," "avalanche." 

Positive Messages

Implied message that if you're bored or grumpy, a change of scene can cheer you up. If you're someplace that becomes dangerous, get out of there and go to a different place. Implies that grandparents and grandkids can have a special, extra-fun, adventurous relationship. 

Positive Role Models & Representations

Grandude is cheerful, adventurous, caring, and wants to help his four grandkids -- two boys and two girls -- have a fun day. The diverse kids are upbeat and up for adventure. They are kind to one another and follow Grandude's instructions.  

Violence & Scariness

A boy says, "That crab pinched my toe!" -- we don't see the pinch but we do see a red big toe. A horse rears and the text says "he tumbled to the ground," but we only see him starting to fall out of the saddle, then standing on the ground and being rescued (lassoed) by Grandude. Kids are shown afraid or in peril due to advancing crabs, buffaloes, and an avalanche.

Language

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that Hey Grandude! is a fun, action-packed picture book by musician and songwriter Paul McCartney, known as a member of The Beatles and his other bands since. It's the story of a grandfather ("Grandude"), who takes his four diverse grandchildren (he calls "Chillers") to exotic locales around the world by spinning a magical compass to transport them. There's cartoonish peril  -- pinching crabs, charging  buffalo, an advancing avalanche -- and one boy gets his toe pinched by a crab, another falls off a horse. It's an upbeat, silly adventure that celebrates the special grandparent-grandchild relationship.

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What's the story?

In HEY GRANDUDE!, a white-ponytailed grandfather finds his four grandkids bored and grumpy when they're stuck inside on a rainy day, so he whips out some postcards and his magic compass and whisks the "Chillers" away to three different places on the cards, each time invoking the chant, "See the compass needle spin,/ let the magic fun begin!" They go first to a tropical beach, where they get chased by pinching by crabs; then to a desert with cowboys and horses, where they get charged by buffalo; and then to a mountain meadow with wildflowers and snow-capped peaks, where they must escape an avalanche -- by jumping on a flying cow. Finally, they get transported back to their bunk beds, safe and sound.

Is it any good?

This rollicking fantasy-adventure tale uses a touch of magic to transport four kids and their Grandude to destinations out of their everyday experience. Author Paul McCartney infuses Hey Grandude! with humor, love, lively word choices, and wordplay. When they're threatened by a buffalo stampede, one of the Chillers says, "Hey Grandude, could we go somewhere a little less ..." "Stampy!" Grandude says, finishing the boy's thought. Little kids will love chiming in on the magical phrase that activates the compass each time. They'll also enjoy the repetition of the phrase "Zing, bang, sizzle," that accompanies each scene change.

Artist Kathryn Durst's accessible, cartoon-like illustrations keep up the suspense and momentum as the action-packed story zooms to its peaceful bedtime conclusion.

 

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about the places the kids visit in Hey Grandude! What places would you want to go if you had a magic compass that could get you there? 

  • What do you think about the dangers the kids face in their adventures? What would be scarier coming at you -- a herd of buffalo or a mountain avalanche? 

  •  What fun adventures have you had with your grandma or grandpa or another caregiver? 

Book details

Themes & Topics

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For kids who love books about adventure and grandparents

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