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The Grandparents Handbook: A Unique Book for Grandparents

Eclectic Approach Adds Interest

About.com Rating 4 Star Rating


books for grandparents
Photo © Quirk Books

The Bottom Line

There are advice books for grandparents. There are books of activities for grandparents to do with grandchildren. There are first-person grandparenting accounts. The Grandparents Handbook is three or more books in one, as it fits all of these descriptions and throws in a few extra flourishes as well. Written with care and verve, The Grandparents Handbook will be a welcome addition to your shelf of books for grandparents.

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  • Interesting, eclectic mix of features
  • Clear instructions
  • Lots of traditional recipes and activities


  • Activities not divided by age


  • Hardcover, with full-color cover
  • Handy size, slightly larger than 5 X 7
  • Attractively designed, illustrated and printed
  • List Price $16.95
  • Published by Quirk Books

Guide Review - The Grandparents Handbook, One of the Most Eclectic Books for Grandparents

The design of The Grandparents Handbook somehow reminds me of a cookbook. Instead of recipes for food, however, it contains advice for grandparents and recipes for fun, with pages of "Grandparent Wisdom" interpersed throughout. The book is organized into four major sections.

Part I: Bringing Up Baby: A Grandparent's Refresher Course

This first section updates grandparents on diapering, safe sleeping, baby medications and other aspects of child care that may have changed since we were parents. It also reminds grandparents of some classic games and nursery rhymes and gives advice on tantrums, time-outs and sibling tussles.

Part II: Indoor and Outdoor Fun and Games

This section contains a few ho-hum suggestions: Play the Quiet Game on a road trip with grandchildren? That never worked with my own kids, who were more sedate than my grandkids. Also, I'm not about to turn my grandkids loose on a scavenger hunt inside my house. It could take days to repair the damage. On the other hand, some ideas that will work for me include holding a Backyard Olympics, playing Pirate for a Day and creating Fairy and Goblin Gardens.

Part III: Crafts and Cooking

The third section is similarly a mixed bag. I think making a quilt with my grandkids is an unrealistic project, and creating a family newspaper seems a tad too retro in this age of Facebook. I love the recipes, though. They tend to be simple and loaded with kid appeal. I also like the idea of creating a diorama in a shoebox. We used to do something similar for school projects, and it was always great fun.

Part IV: Sharing and Exploring the World Together

The fourth section contains predictable but useful tips for making zoo trips and museum visits, dining out and visiting a grandchild's classroom. Then there are the less predictable pages: pulling off a visit from the tooth fairy and opening up a bank account for a grandchild. One section that had me nodding in agreement was a listing of Yellow Light Activities. These are activities that look like great fun but that should be approached with caution, unless you are a athlete in perpetual training. These include rowboats, paddleboats and boardwalk surreys. I've observed many a grandparent and quite a few parents looking as though they wished they had never laid eyes on those contraptions.

If you are looking for the orderly, comprehensive book that the title suggests, you may have come to the wrong place. The book doesn't claim to be comprehensive, and the activities that are its main attraction are not organized according to age-appropriateness. In the defense of the authors, most of the games are either appropriate for a wide age span or can be easily adapted for different ages. The book's somewhat random nature is, I believe, one of its major charms.

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