The Bottom Line
The good news is that Billy Crystal has written a second children's book about grandparenting, a field in which there are far too few entries. The book is a fitting follow-up to his first, written before the birth of his granddaughter and called I Already Know I Love You. The bad news is that he hasn't overcome the prediliction for awkward phrasing that sometimes marred his first book. Still, Grandpa's Little One is an enjoyable account of a baby's first year, written from the viewpoint of an affectionate grandparent.
- Effective recap of baby's first year
- Warmly nostalgic illustrations
- Generous 10 X 10 size
- Sometimes awkward phrasing
- Uneven illustration quality
- Written by Billy Crystal
- Illustrated by Guy Porfirio
- Published by Harper-Collins in 2006
- 40 pages, with audio CD
- Available in hardcover and paperback
Guide Review - Grandpa's Little One: A Book About Baby's First Year
I was intrigued by Billy Crystal's first book, I Already Know I Love You, written for his unborn grandchild. I liked the idea of a expectant grandparent dreaming about the days to come. His second book, Grandpa's Little One, is less original but still engaging. He uses the occasion of his granddaughter's first birthday to look back on all the milestones of a baby's first year. "You're eating grown-up food now; / that baby stuff was yuck. / Grandma gave you pizza / and ice cream from a truck."
The audio CD which comes with the book features Crystal reading the story aloud. It's a puzzlingly pedestrian performance for a voice actor, and it's paced far too fast for children to follow along, or even to fully take in the illustrations before turning the page.
Elizabeth Sayles' dreamy pastels illustrated the first book. Guy Porfirio got the call to illustrate this one, and his illustrations are reminiscent of the Little Golden Books that many grandparents grew up with. Using a palette of warm earth colors, Porfirio has created family scenes that could have come straight out of the 50s, except for a few details, such as video cameras and gift bags, that didn't exist fifty years ago. The grandkids will have fun noticing the antics of the family dog, who is often doing something humorous in the periphery. The illustrations are more successful when the text is warmly sentimental than when Crystal's somewhat juvenile humor surfaces. Crystal's lines, "You cry when you're hungry, / and I cry when you poo," are illustrated with a grandfather holding a diaper and looking queasy. The book could have done without this touch of bathroom humor. On the other hand, the closing pages depicting the grandparents leaning over their sleeping granddaughter strike exactly the right note.