reading with grandchildren who live far away – Imogene’s Antlers

Ridiculously, 4 of our grandchildren (including newborn Ezra) live in Cairns and 2 are in Tasmania. That’s pretty much opposite ends of the country and at least a two hour flight each way.  So weekly or even monthly visits just aren’t an option. But Samantha suggested this great app—Marco Polo. It’s probably not the original intention but it works really well for reading stories.

I record a story (dodgy lighting and shuffling pages are no big deal), it uploads, and the grandkids look at it whenever their parents are ready to give up their phones for a few minutes. They can watch over and over again and when they’re done they can record a quick message back to me. I love it!

This week I read Imogene’s Antlers—it’s such a fun book.


Imogene wakes up one morning and finds that she has grown a magnificent set of antlers.

Her mother faints (repeatedly) and her brother does some intense old-school research in encyclopaedias, but Imogene, the rest of the family and household staff all take it all in stride.

Turns out a set of antlers can be very useful for feeding birds, using as a candelabra when practising the piano, but tricky to hide under a hat.

The next morning Imogene wakes up to find her antlers gone. There’s a punch line to the story which I won’t spoil—but it’s great.

As well as being funny to read, with pictures that are full of delight and detail, I chose this book for my grandkids because I love the underlying message about rolling with whatever life hands you—Imogene is relentlessly upbeat and her family adapt quickly, even though her mother is aghast.

Because I was reading it over Marco Polo, I went slowly and zoomed in on a few pages—which seems to have worked fine on the grandkids end too. Ivy messaged me back to say thanks and to advise that giraffes also have antlers but they are much smaller. Now that she mentions it, giraffe antlers would definitely be much more manageable than elk antlers! 

P.S. Another book we love by David Small and Sarah Stewart is The Gardener.

Names in this book – Imogene

Amazon  -  Book Depository

Book Depository has free postage anywhere in the world and great pricing, but Amazon might be cheaper for North American readers.

by David Small - Random House USA, 1988
ages toddler to 5 years / picture books + heartwarmers