Michael Genhart, Author
Priscilla Burris, Illustrator
Magination Press, Fiction, Apr. 21, 2020
Suitable for Ages: 4-8
Themes: Biculturural families, Grandpas, Music, Connecting, Intergenerational relationships
Opening: “The accordion is a funny-looking instrument. Is it a little piano? Some kind of harmonica?”
A boy’s abuelo plays the accordion in a mariachi band and he hoots and hollers louder than the rest. His opa plays the accordion in a polka band and he belts out many yodels. They bring their accordions when they visit and the boy dances a folklórico or sometimes a polka.
But, when the grandpas visit at the same time, they can’t understand each other’s language and there is a lot of silence as they eat, work in the garden, play croquet, or take walks.
The grandson’s clever thinking helps the grandpas find a way for everyone to share the day together. And two cultures become one big happy family.
Why I like this book:
Genhart’s story is pure joy, from his storytelling to the cheerful and lively illustrations by Priscilla Burris. They are bold and colorful and shows how music breaks down barriers. Just look at that winning cover!
Genhart draws from his own biculturual family history to tell the tale of his two grandpas — one Mexican American and the other Swiss American. As does Burris, who is Mexican American and has a grandpa who plays an accordion.
This is a very clever idea for a book, as we all have bits of different cultures in our history. And there are many of us who have chosen to create bicultural and multiracial families through adoption. This book will have a far-reaching appeal to many families. It is such an uplifting and feel-good story.
Make sure you don’t miss the special fold-out page and a special Note from the Author at the end.
Resources: Have a discussion with your children about your interesting family heritage. Does anyone in your family play a musical instrument? (My grandmother played an accordion.) Introduce kids to familiar instruments like a piano, harmonica, saxophone, violin, flute, drum, and trumpet. And introduce them to the not-so-familiar instruments that include spoons, pots and pans, kazoo, xylophone, and glasses filled with different levels of water. Let them have fun!
Michael Genhart, PhD. is the descendant of Mexican Americans and Swiss Americans, and is a licensed clinical psychologist in San Francisco. He has also written Rainbow: A First Book of Pride; Cake & I Scream!, Mac & Geeze, and Peanute Buttery & Jellyous; Ouch! Moments: When Words Are Used in Hurtful Ways; I See You; and So many Smarts! Visit Genhart at his website.
Every Friday, authors and KidLit bloggers post a favorite picture book. To see a complete listing of all the Perfect Picture Books (PPB) with resources, please visit author Susanna Leonard Hill’s website.
*Review copy provided by publisher in exchange for a review.