Dive into picture books

Dear Grandparenting: I happen to be a grandmother who looks forward to Christmas. I can lose myself for an hour thumbing through children’s picture books. I go for oversized ones, the bigger the better.

It carries me back to my own childhood. Granny gave me three picture books one Christmas. We snuggled up in her big chair in the den. Granny slowly ran her finger under reach word so I could follow along as she read the story line. I squealed with delight every time I picked the right animal or article of clothing or whatever.

That’s what got me started reading books. They make great companions. So I was disappointed and a little sad after I told my daughter I went picture-book shopping for Lindy, my 3-year-old granddaughter. Don’t bother, she said. Too easy. More words and less pictures will make Lindy smarter sooner. Is she right about that or just being trendy? Jenna Short, Albion, MI

Dear Jenna: More trendy than true, the downtick in large children’s picture books is driven by their higher cost and anxious parents of the opinion that text-heavy books will launch their child toward an Ivy League education.

But those who devalue the benefits of colorful picture books for young readers 2 to 8 years of age might want to reconsider. Educators and child development authorities are quick to tout the benefits — enhanced critical language skills, improved comprehension and “sequencing” ability, boosts socio-emotional learning and develops a love of reading.

Children’s books most in demand are about self-esteem and self-reliance, climate change and environmental concerns, reflecting modern day issues. Be that as it may, we’re beating the drums for diving into a good picture book with a grandchild in the lap. It doesn’t get much better than that.

Grand remark of the week:

Tara Jones from Kingsport, TN thinks the blended holiday season — the meld of Halloween, Thanksgiving and Christmas — is a bit much for young grandchildren.

Tara reports her son asked granddaughter Emma, age 3, what she would say should she meet Santa.

“Trick or treat!” replied Emma.


Tom and Dee and Cousin Key

Dee and Tom, married more than 50 years, have eight grandchildren. Together with Key, they welcome questions, suggestions and Grand Remarks of the Week. Send to P.O. Box 27454, Towson, MD, 21285. Call 410-963-4426.