Denise Brennan-Nelson

My Grandma Likes to Say

My Grandma Likes to SayFollowing in the footsteps of My Momma Likes to Say comes the charming My Grandma Likes to Say. Thousands of proverbs and idioms can be found in the English language. Derived from many different sources, these expressions are a wonderful link to history and culture, and can be an instructive tool in language education.

“That’s a horse of a different color
My grandma likes to say.
I’m not sure what she means
But I like it anyway.
Polka dots and stripes.
Yellow, orange, and blue.
What color would a horse be
If it were up to YOU?”

Original paintings conceived from a child’s point of view provide a hilarious visual interpretation of those sayings oft-quoted by the ‘senior’ members of our families.



Idioms are a tricky business for children, and this story is a useful way to introduce those literal little people in our lives to them. Told in rhyme, the story juxtaposes a child’s literal interpretation of several idioms, proverbs, and cliches with factual information on what each idiom actually means. Told in rhyme, the child describes what her grandmother must mean when she says things like “Hit the hay.” She comically envisions boxing gloves and hay, when in fact Grandma is referring to a time when mattresses were typically stuffed with hay. “Hitting the hay” back then simply meant going to bed. While most of the factual information is helpful, it occasionally veers to the fanciful and nonsensical. While explaining what “knee-high to a grasshopper” means, the author suggests: “If you ever meet a giant grasshopper, ask him to take you for a ride. P.S. Don’t forget to eat your vegetables.” Despite these hiccups, the book will have a place in classrooms as an introduction to sayings of all kinds. The artwork is nicely rendered with endpapers that surely exist as wallpaper in all of our Grandma’s homes.
Children’s Literature Reviewer: Joan Kindig, Ph.D.



2007 Bank Street College of Education – Best Book of the Year List08


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  ...Likes to Say Series

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