Grandma Found A Gecko

Children - Animals
50 Pages
Reviewed on 05/21/2016
Buy on Amazon

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Author Biography

Vincent F. A. Golphin is a retired professor of Creative Writing and Literary Studies who now lives, writes and occasionally teaches in Central Florida. The author-educator's latest book, Grandma Found a Gecko, joins titles such as African American Children's Stories: A Treasury of Tradition and Pride(2002) , Grandma Loves You: My First Treasury (2003), African American Stories: My First Treasury (2003), as demonstrations of his craft and love of storytelling.

    Book Review

Reviewed by Jack Magnus for Readers' Favorite

Grandma Found a Gecko is a humorous children's picture book written by Vincent F.A. Golphin and illustrated by James P. Cottage. One day, Grandma suddenly started screaming and running around the house, and her cries echoed everywhere. Grandpa heard her and tried to find out what was wrong, but he couldn't get her to stop long enough to tell him. Grandma had a gecko in her shoe. The little lizard must have fallen asleep in her shoe, and when she put it on, the lizard became stuck in the toe. Grandma was in a panic, and she ran out into the street to get help. Mr. Lee, the next-door neighbor, tried to help, but Grandma couldn't calm down enough to take her shoe off and free the little creature. Mrs. Hall was delivering the mail when she saw Grandma, and she finally helped Grandma take off her shoe -- but there was no gecko inside. Where could he have gone?

Vincent F.A. Golphin's humorous children's picture book, Grandma Found a Gecko, has got to be the best thing that’s happened to me all day. I couldn't stop grinning as I heard the "Eeeeee" noises Grandma was making, and watched as she ran frantically from room to room. I personally love reptiles of all kinds and sizes and would be thrilled to find a gecko in my shoe, but I can fully appreciate Grandma's predicament. Golphin's dynamic and very funny story is masterfully accompanied by the illustrations and graphic design work of James P. Cottage. I loved how his use of text sizes to convey volume added drama to the story, and the illustrations are bright and cheerful. While Grandma Found a Gecko begs to be read aloud, it's a perfect choice for new readers to try on their own. The story is catchy, the humor infectious, and the vocabulary is suitable for younger readers. While I don't have anyone around right now to share this book with, I think I'll just have to read it again after I finish writing this review. It's that good. Grandma Found a Gecko is fabulous and an outstanding collaborative effort! It's most highly recommended.

Rick Felty

Vincent F. A. Golphin’s “Grandma Found a Gecko” is a wonderfully fun children’s picture book that reads like a long-told family tale - the kind that gets better and funnier with the telling. The story hits the ground running as we learn in the first few pages that indeed, Grandma has discovered a Gecko. The fun part is that this particular Gecko is living inside one of her shoes… a shoe that she is currently wearing!

Written with a loose and rolling lyrical style, the energetic tale of a comically frightened Grandma and the people who help in her, unfolds at a brisk pace. Where is that Gecko anyway? How can they get it out of her shoe? And can anyone get Grandma to calm down? It’s a fun story to read out loud as Grandma’s dilemma gets more and more challenging.

The illustrations by James P. Cottage have a style both grounded in reality while also fancifully comedic in execution. The titular Gecko is both real while also amusing and friendly as illustrated by Mr. Cottage. I especially loved the use of full-page illustrated text to emphasize the very dramatic moments in the story. Those are the pages parents will read more loudly to build the excitement for their children.

After reading this book I was left with a warm feeling of family and connected neighborhood friends, the kind who will do anything to help you out. I also remembered my own family’s stories of silly moments that ultimately help define a wonderful life. Children will certainly enjoy the lyrical prose, break-neck pace and a frantic Grandma character, that is sure to hold their interest until the resolution.

Grandma may have found a Gecko but in this book from Vincent F.A. Golphin, you will find a wonderful story to read to your kids and a sweet reminder of the importance of family and rich story telling.

Richard Clark

Grandma Found a Gecko, by Vincent F.A. Golphin, is just the kind of book that preschool (and pre-preschool) kids will love! I can just see a tike or two sitting in Mom or Dad's lap being read this funny, exciting tale. And the great thing about it is that there are more than just pictures (by James P. Cottage) to follow for the pre-literate set. Much of the text is written in huge expressive words, so if a child doesn't quite know his letters, he or she will get a very good idea of the emotions being expressed just by the explosive way the words are written. What a great way to learn how to read!

The story is simple but played out for the best comic - and dramatic - effect. We laugh at Grandma, but we feel for her too. We're as eager as she is to get that pesky gecko out of her shoe, and when she does, we breathe a sigh of relief right along with her. Now... what can Mr. Golphin and Mr. Cottage find to slip into Grandma's shoe next?

Sonia Cunningham Leverette

Grandma Finds a Gecko is a delightful children’s book that uses rhyme, onomatopoeia, alliteration, metaphor, sensory language and imagery in order to convey a story that children will want to hear again and again. We all know how popular humor is with children. The illustrator, James P. Cottage, and Golphin combine their talents to make the story come off the page, making it easy for children to visualize the humorous actions as they are engulfed by the story.

While this story focuses on an adult main character, children can easily relate to the main character because of her fear of a reptile. And because grandmothers are so endeared by children, children are quickly captivated. The humor and draw are heightened by grandmother dancing around hysterically over her fear of the gecko.

The gecko itself offers a learning opportunity for children. Teachers or librarians can bring a gecko to class, have children observe it and research its characteristics and habitat. Children can learn about reptiles, so this could easily fit in a great literature and science interdisciplinary unit.

Lastly, there are social skills to be learned from Grandma Finds a Gecko. Grandpa is quite patient with Grandma, as are the neighbors. The postal carrier is exceptionally patient and kind, as she pauses her mail route in order to help. "Oh, I know just what to do, my dear," she said, offering even a term of endearment. Children can also compare reality vs. imagination, as well as discuss pretense and the characteristics of aging.

Because of the educational value of Grandma Finds a Gecko, I highly recommend it for children and adult readers of all ages.