Peeny Butter Fudge

Book review by
Patricia Tauzer, Common Sense Media
Peeny Butter Fudge Book Poster Image
Toothsome gift for zany grandmas to share with grandkids.

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A lot or a little?

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

Educational Value

A family fudge recipe is included at the end of the story. 

Positive Messages

Staying with Grandma can be fun, full of zany and delicious adventures. Spending time with her is important for passing on family traditions.

Positive Role Models & Representations

Nana is an energetic, fun-loving grandmother full of love for her grandkids. And the grandkids love her right back.

Violence & Scariness

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that this rhyming book, written by Noble Prize-winning author Toni Morrison and her son Slade, was inspired by her grandchildren, and her family fudge recipe. It shows just how fun staying with Grandma can be. This is a terrific giftbook idea for grandmothers.  

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What's the story?

When Mama leaves the kids with Nana, she also leaves a set of instructions for the day. But, when the door closes, all sorts of fun breaks loose. Though the three siblings and their grandmother follow the basics on the list, Nana embellishes it all with her special, playful touch. They race through the yard in potato sacks, feast on ham and biscuits, play imaginary games, make puzzles on the floor and, using a secret family recipe, whip up a batch of "Peeny Butter Fudge." The recipe for the fudge is printed on the last page, just in case some other grandma might want to give it a try.

Is it any good?

Kids will enjoy reading about the shenanigans of the three grandkids and their Nana. And grandmothers will love sharing the book with their grandkids. Both will love the rhyming, rhythmic text as well as the full-paged illustrations that truly capture what is so special the relationship between kids and their grandmas. Readers may feel a little dissatisfied by the shortness of the book and wish for a few more Nana adventures. However, that may leave room for readers to come up with some sweet fun of their own.

Full pages of very colorful oil-painted illustrations vividly express the chaos and energy of the day spent with Nana, as well as the love. From the start, when Nana and the kids are lined up, holding hands, all wearing colorful tennis shoes, and bidding goodbye to Mama, they look like partners-in-crime. Grandma is checking out the schedule, the kids are beaming, and the reader senses that the fun is about to burst out onto the scene. Purple staircases that curve, doors  and lampshades that are a bit a-kilter show that Grandma's house is a place  where rules can be bent just enough to make things fun. Even when Nana and kids are caught in the midst of a cooking mess, their faces shine with a glow that promises that the mess will be easily forgiven. 

Talk to your kids about ...

  • What was on Mama's list of instructions? What kinds of things did Nana do with the grandkids? How did things change? Do you think that was a good idea? How did it change the day?

  • If you stay with your grandparents, what kinds of things do you like to do? Do you have any special games you play, or things you cook together? Has your grandma taught you anything about your special family traditions?

  • Why is the story called Peeny Butter Fudge? Why do you think they called it that? Besides being the name of the recipe, what does it say about the rest of the day?

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