Copyright © 2020 Ed Shankman and David O'Neill

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Seven years ago, we released our second best seller, the story of a little boy and his dad who visit his grandmother in the great state of Florida. Below is the press release.


Want the book now? Get it here!


A CHIDREN’S BOOK ABOUT GRANDMA? YOU BET!


New Shankman & O’Neill Book, “My Grandma Lives in Florida," pays homage to the unique relationship between child and grandmother


Carlisle, MA – “My grandma lives in Florida/And that is where we go/When daddy says he cannot stand/Another inch of snow.” So begins My Grandma Lives in Florida, the latest children’s book by Shankman & O’Neill (author Ed Shankman and illustrator Dave O’Neill). According to publisher Phil Zuckerman, the book is an homage to the unique relationship between a boy and his grandmother and it is intended for children ages two to seven.


“Children, parents, educators and reviewers have loved all the Shankman and O’Neill books,” Zuckerman said. “And this one is sure to bring a smile to grandmothers and grandchildren everywhere.”


In My Grandma Lives in Florida, young readers join a child on his visit to his grandmother’s house in the Sunshine State. The book uses Seussian rhymes and rhythms, affectionate humor, and dazzling illustrations to present a child’s-eye view of the grandmother/grandson relationship. “When we go inside, grandma gives me a kiss/In fact, there’s no place on my face she will miss/I may wriggle and giggle and grumble and hiss/But only a grandma can kiss you like this.”


The book is also permeated by Florida’s sunny disposition. “That sun warms each beach it can reach/And rest assured, it reaches each/It shines on every manatee/From Tampa Bay to Longboat Key.”


The author and illustrator believe this fable will capture the hearts of children and grandmother’s everywhere. And Shankman says this story has special meaning for him.

“Both of my grandmothers, Mal and Sarah, were central figures in my life and had a major influence on me,” he said. They were two very different women but the single overriding factor in both relationships was that they loved me and I loved them.”


O’Neill added, “There’s a special bond between kids and their grandparents. It’s the warm hugs and the tiny little moments. It’s that secret little extra piece of candy, and knowing where they hide the treats. Your grandparents are basically your first best friends. It’s friendship and it’s unconditional love and homemade apple pie.”


At one point in the book, the young protagonist ponders the unique quality of his grandmother’s love and attention.

“And that makes her laugh, which I find quite confusing/I can’t always tell why she thinks I’m amusing/But this is the thing that makes grandmothers grand/They love you for reasons you can’t understand.”


“Anyone whose ever had a grandmother, or been one, will recognize the feelings in this book,” Zuckerman said. “It honors the special role that grandmothers play in our lives.”

  • Ed

Why children’s books? Why picture books? Why rhyming books? Because, in my experience, nothing provides a greater opportunity for unfettered imagination.


Mesmerized by the music of rhyme, the magic of wordplay, the joy of color, and the mystery of imagery that could never occur in real life, children dissolve into rhyming picture books like astronauts walking in space.


Go ahead and write the absurd:


“When a lobster wears a tutu, there’s a chance that he will dance,

‘Cause if he doesn’t plan to dance, he’ll wear a pair of pants. He may throw on his favorite jeans, or maybe he’ll wear shorts… …but shorter pants mean there’s a chance he plans on playing sports.”

From When a Lobster Buys a Bathrobe)



As far as I can tell (and recall from my own childhood), many young children do not bother to filter this information at all. They simply receive. They give serious consideration to the lobster’s wardrobe and its implications. From my point of view, as an author, that openness – that flexibility and receptivity – allows me to create the laws of my own universe! Doesn’t that sound like fun?


Want friendship to reign supreme in your universe (as it darn well should)? Just write it and make it so:


“I guess the truth is, when it’s all said and done, Friendship is always the best part of fun. Every beast has a name and its own favorite game, But look into our eyes and we’re all just the same.”

From Monkey See. Zebra Do. A Zoo Party.)


Heck, a lot of folks argue about whether Champ, the monster of Lake Champlain, really exists. I decided yes:


“If you come to Vermont, near a lake called Champlain, And you cut through the woods on an old country lane, There’s a chance you will see my friend Champ and me Playing happy and free by the old maple tree.

(From Champ and Me by the Maple Tree)


You see, the children and I have this unspoken and mutually beneficial agreement: They get to visit a boundless universe of unadulterated fun, warmth, and joy. And so do I.


Thanks kids!


Ed


Happy birthday to the one and only Theodor Seuss "Ted" Geisel, the good doctor, the wordsmith of our childhoods!


As a father I've had the opportunity to revisit some titles that I may have forgotten about over the years. Among them is Dr. Seuss at his finest and (in my opinion) most diabolical: "Fox in Socks."


Why diabolical? When was the last time you read "Fox in Socks?" Have you read it out loud lately? Do me a favor, go grab it and open it up.


Say the following aloud and tell me you are not laughing:


"When beetles battle beetles in a puddle paddle battle and the beetle battle puddle is a puddle in a bottle...


...they call this a tweetle beetle bottle puddle paddle battle muddle.

AND ... When beetles fight these battles in a bottle with their paddles and the bottle's on a poodle and the poodle's eating noodles...


... they call this a muddle puddle tweetle poodle beetle noodle bottle paddle battle."


My daughter and I have spent many evenings trying to get through those pages with varying degrees of speed and expertise ... and never have we laughed so hard and as often with a book open.


Reading aloud with your kiddos is so wildly important to their development—not just academically, but imaginationally (yup)—and this is a great opportunity to share a funny moment together. She'll see you as a hero, flawed and stumbling through the prose, assuring her that with enough practice she can conquer anything ... EVEN the tweetle beetle puddle paddle battle.


Then, you can proudly declare that you speak fluent Seuss, the founder of the original "Ted" Talk.