Grandma Mable, Are You Able? by Willie Etta Wright


Reviewed by Teri Davis

Jacob has a life that is different from his classmates. It seems to him that he is the only one without a mother and a father. His grandmother acts as his parent.

His teacher, Miss Green, announces that the students are to participate in a Family Exercise Day this Saturday. While his classmates are excited, Jacob feels depressed. How can he possibly spend a day exercising with his grandma? She is old and deaf, wears false teeth, with white hair and glasses, and sometimes needs to walk with a cane. Grandma Mable wants Jacob to consider exercising her way. Somehow this does not brighten his prospects of a fun day. His only hope for a good day is bringing his dog, Friendly, with them. Of course, his grandmother agrees to the day. Jacob would much prefer to stay home and play video games.

The illustrations are bright and perfectly correlate with the text making this book enjoyable for most reading levels. The recommended reading level is for ages eight to eleven and grades three, four, and five.

Grandma Mable, Are You Able?” has the prospect for vocabulary enrichment using words such as raucous, steady, mishap, and knack, as well as the past tense verbs of spotted, whirled, dangling, topped, splattered, chuckled and darted. What a great way to introduce verbs and suffixes!

The story uses some of the frequently challenging words: though, thought, and through, creating an excellent opportunity for continually practicing the tricky words.

The two characters speak to each other, frequently creating a perfect teaching opportunity for continuing the use of quotation marks correctly.

For more advanced elementary students, lessons could also extend with similes and even idioms.

Grandma Mable, Are You Able?” is a delightful lesson of each of our flawed perspectives of other people. Appearances, past experiences, and personal prejudices often determine how each of us judges a person. That is often deceptive and flawed. Multigenerational-families are not uncommon, but to any child, the feelings of isolation as the only one without their natural parents distinguish the oddness of the situation.

Problem-solving is also apparent with the constant need for solutions throughout the story.

This book is best as a read-aloud teaching opportunity. The life lessons of expectations, perspective, and problem-solving are necessary for everyone’s life. The grammar and vocabulary lessons perfectly blend naturally into the story.

The author, Dr. Willie Etta Wright, is a retired teacher who has also been a journalist and written other books.

Grandma Mable, Are You Able?” is an essential book for every parent, grandparent, and teacher.