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“My Buddy, Dido!”

“My Buddy, Dido!” by Marion Mutala

“My Buddy, Dido!” by Marion Mutala

What would the world do without grandfathers? What would boys and girls do without them? “My Buddy, Dido!,” a High Plains Book Awards finalist in the Children’s Book category, gives us a glimpse into the life of grandfathers and their grandchildren.

Author Marion Mutala draws on her Ukrainian heritage with delightful rhyming text to show us just how valuable these elderly relatives are. The first page describes different didos, the Ukrainian word for grandfather. Since they come in different shapes and colors, no one is left out in the beautiful illustration done by Ukrainian native, Olha Tkachenko.

From there, author and artist weave a lovely story for children and adults to share together. Told from the perspective of a grandchild in awe of Dido, we discover what children really want—time. Not sugary sweets, not money for more stuff, not computers. They crave time. Time to read together or time to dance. Time for homemade traditional soup or time for tickles and hugs. Time to play on the floor or time to go for a nature walk. No matter what time of day or night, the best time is spent with Dido.

With Dido listening on a rotary telephone, Tkachenko’s illustrations make it clear that he doesn’t have modern conveniences. But he does have time and love which is exactly what grandchildren want. With a slight grainy overtone, the vivid colors and realistic settings of the drawings pull the reader into each scene and onto the next page. A special treat includes a recipe for Holushki Soup, a traditional Ukrainian meal, something the whole family can enjoy. A fun word cloud on the inside cover pages has the names for grandfathers in different languages. All in all, “My Buddy, Dido!” demonstrates the love that grandfathers and grandchildren have for each other—something the world needs more of.

An award-winning author, Penelope Kaye is the author of “Making Crooked Places Straight,” available now in bookstores and online.

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