My Buddy, Dido!

24 August 2018

My Buddy, Dido!
by Marion Mutala
Published by Your Nickle’s Worth Publishing
Review by Amanda Zimmerman
$14.95 ISBN 978-1-988783-23-9

Grandfathers are amazing people. Whether they play games, tell jokes, read stories, or simply snuggle their grandchildren, they are always sharing their love. In this delightful picture book, Marion Mutala reminds us why grandpas are such exceptional family members. My Buddy, Dido! is her 10th book, following her celebration of grandmothers in More Baba’s Please!

With her background in Ukrainian children’s tales (her Baba’s Babushka series are award-winning), she has a great grasp of the fundamentals, introducing readers to Dido, the Ukrainian grandfather. Before the tale even starts, a full page graphic showcases ‘grandpa’ in other languages with bright, bold colours. As for presenting a new term, Dido is so casually included in the pages that both children and parents alike will believe they’ve always known it. There is only one other word in the tongue- Holushki– and, flipping to the back, a recipe for the soup awaits.

Marion also strays from the regular story format, choosing instead to go over a Dido’s characteristics in rhyming verses: “Who listens to me when I’m mad? Who consoles me when I’m sad? Who has time when I’m in a pickle or when I’m ready for a tickle?” Every facet of a grandfather is explored in poetry sure to appeal both the young and old.

Native Ukrainian artist, Olha Tkachenko, adds a fantastical element to the story with her watercolour inspired illustrations. The simplicity and splashes of colour are both childlike and detailed, an absolute necessity if you want to hold your reader’s attention. In studying the pictures, you’ll find many Ukrainian influences. Olha’s representation of different races and cultures make the pictures even more relatable. What looks like a stitched embroidery motif borders every page and each illustration highlights a special moment between grandchild and Papa- dancing together, enjoying a meal, and playing on the floor.

If you have a grandpa…or ever had a grandpa…this charming story will help you relieve those fond memories.


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