c.2018, Knopf​
$17.99 ($23.99 Canada​)
32 pages

What’s in the bag?

It looks like it could be a surprise. Lots of things that come in a sack that size are good things. Maybe it’s a doll or a truck or a bar of chocolate. Maybe it’s a whistle or a puzzle. Or maybe, as in the new book “Grandma’s Purse” by Vanessa Brantley-Newton, it’s a whole lot more than that …

Here’s some good news: Grandma Mimi is coming to visit!

She gives the best hugs. She always has “treasures” to share, and every one of them hides in the bottom of her purse. When she’s around, you can barely stop looking at that purse. It’s “full of some magical things.” It’s full of what makes Mimi, Mimi.

Once you’ve gotten your hug and Mimi’s comfortable on the sofa, you can ask politely to see what’s inside that magical purse. It’s going to be something great. Or maybe it’ll be something useful. Or maybe something silly.

“You never know what you’ll want to have with you!” says Mimi.

For instance, she keeps a mirror in there, and a lipstick so she’s ready to leave kisses all over your cheeks. She needs her “smell-good,” so you know she’s been in your living room long after she leaves. Mimi always carries an second pair of earrings because any time might be time to look “extra-fancy.” There are hairpins in her purse, so she always looks put together, and a coin purse that Grandpa brought her from an overseas country far, far away. The coin purse reminds her of Grandpa. There’s candy, because she never knows who might be hungry. Her phone and her glasses are there; so is a scarf to keep her warm and a long line of pictures protected in plastic. It’s almost like Mimi carries everything!

Lucky for you that she sometimes doesn’t mind if you play with her things. When you put on her lipstick, her “smell-good,” her scarf and her glasses, well, look at you: you could almost be Mimi.

But wait.

What’s that in the bottom of Mimi’s purse?

What could it be?

Rare is the big girl who doesn’t remember being a little girl with a fascination for an elder’s handbag. All those memories will rush forth when you see what author-illustrator Vanessa Brantley-Newton has in store for your little one in “Grandma’s Purse.”

Beginning with the joyous cover, you know you’re in for a book that tells a story by picture alone. Indeed, when your child picks up this book to pretend-read it, she’ll easily know what’s going on by Brantley-Newton’s artwork.

Even so, you’ll want to read this one aloud. Not only is it a story of being silly, being surprised, and being loved between generations, but it’s also just generally one that purse-loving, surprise-loving girls will appreciate, no matter what their ages.

Surely, then, your child will love “Grandma’s Purse” almost as much as she loves to rummage through a handbag. For that 3- to 6-year-old and this book, the fun’s in the bag.

This correspondent is a guest contributor to The Washington Informer.

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