The Hello, Goodbye Window

A preschool-age girl explains that she has named her grandparents’ cheery kitchen window the Hello, Goodbye Window because it’s where everyone says hello and goodbye. The window is where she first waves or knocks hello when she arrives. It’s where she, Nanna and Poppy gaze at the stars, assess the morning’s weather and first notice any visitors, from the pizza delivery person to (hypothetically) the queen of England. (Nanna says it’s a magic window, so you never know!) When her parents return to take the girl home, she’s glad to see them but also sad to say goodbye to Nanna and Poppy. The girl and her parents all stop outside the window to blow goodbye kisses.

Nanna is English, with brown skin like her granddaughter’s and graying, curly hair. She lovingly tends a flower garden and knows all the stars. Poppy, with a paler complexion, has a fringe of white hair and a white mustache. He jokes with the girl, plays harmonica and makes special oatmeal for breakfast. When the weather’s hot, he chases her with a hose. (She yells for him to stop and then asks him to do it again, while Nanna smiles and shakes her head.) Both grandparents are full of life and enjoy several hobbies.

The rules in this house are gently yet firmly enforced: no touching anything under the sink; no bike riding in the street; no bringing acorns and sticks indoors. Most of all, this book gives a sense that the child feels loved and safe with her grandparents. The brightly colored mixed-media illustrations are loose, free and childlike.