Do Grannies Have Green Fingers? (Fransie Frandsen)

Hello, friends! Our book today is Do Grannies Have Green Fingers? by Fransie Frandsen, a sweet and funny import that looks at color-related idioms.

First in the creator’s Alexander’s Questions series, this cheerfully silly little tale follows young Alexander as he questions some of the colorful figures of speech the grownups around him employ. When his mom notes that Alexander’s Granny, who has just won yet another gardening competition, has “green fingers”, he is puzzled. His mom often has green fingerNAILs, but she likes to change her polish color pretty frequently. And his dad, seeing a plethora of recycling bins outside, notes that the neighbor is “going green” – does this mean the neighbor has green fingers too? Curiously and contemplatively observing these turns of phrase, Alexander decides to conduct some surveillance and find out once and for all: do Grannies have green fingers?

This is a cute look at idioms and how silly they often are if taken literally. Alexander’s observations on the color of his family’s and neighbors’ fingers is described in delightfully childlike style, using simple, matter-of-fact inner dialogue paired with photo-and-illustration mixed-media artwork. The art of the spreads is sparse yet engaging, a nice balance of the different media elements it utilizes. Unfortunately, a choice to typeset the opening line of many pages horizontally on a narrow strip of contrasting color on the left side is a miss; these sentences are often missed as one turns the page, covered by the hands holding the book and requiring a 90-degree tilt of the head to read. And while the story is mostly light-hearted and fun, the ending bizarrely features Alexander’s jealous (“green with envy”) mom stealing one of Granny’s gardening trophies; a strange and off-putting choice that is played for laughs but entirely inappropriate for a preschool picture book. Otherwise, the length is fine, and JJ did enjoy the fun illustrations and mostly easy-to-read text. A clever concept with a disappointing ending, but worth a glance. Baby Bookworm approved.

(Note: A copy of this book was provided to The Baby Bookworm by a representative of the author in exchange for an honest review.)

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