CM . . . . Volume XVIII Number 20 . . . . January 27, 2012
Here Comes Hortense! explores the issue of a blended family rivalry between grandchildren, told in a humorous and endearing way. The narrator is the grandson who is on his way with his Nana and her new husband, Bob, to WonderWorld. His admiration and love for his special grandmother is obvious. This is one grandmother who is absolutely fearless. Bugs, heights, and wild rides don’t frighten her. The big surprise when they arrive is Hortense, Bob’s fearless and a bit overwhelming granddaughter who is joining them. Hortense’s enthusiasm is nerve-wracking for this somewhat shy boy as he sees his Nana and Hortense bond and go on all the scary rides together and bunk together. Then he hears his Nana, now called “Nans”, singing to Hortense. Envy and friction set in, but then he discovers that Hortense misses having special time with her own grandfather.
Learning to share the attention of grandparents is a message that is handled very well by Hartt-Sussman. As a sequel to Nana’s Getting Married, Here Comes Hortense should be a welcomed addition for those seeking stories that explore intergenerational relationships.
Reesa Cohen is a retired Instructor of Children’s Literature and Information Literacy at the Faculty of Education, University of Manitoba in Winnipeg, MB.
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