Teaching Notes for Groovy Granny

Author: Cate Haynes



Plot Outline:

Groovy Granny is a celebration of the unique and precious relationship that is shared between grandparents and grandchildren. Groovy Granny is like no other typical grandparent. A free spirit in her day she has maintained a childlike quality that makes her very appealing to kids: A little different, a little naughty and more than a little generous with her time for her grandchildren.


That is until one terrible night when an accidental fire engulfs granny’s incredible old house and robes her of all its irreplaceable treasures painstakingly collected from years of travel.


The devastation of the fire transforms Granny into a ‘not so’ groovy Granny any more. The stark, grey walls of the replacement house, mirrors the deep sadness and feeling of loss, that Granny is experiencing.


That is until a dear friend from Granny’s past, Willemina Funnywood, comes to town. With Willemina’s help Granny rediscovers herself and replaces all her treasures at the local swap meet. The story ends with Granny and Willemina setting up house and sharing the most valuable treasure of all, the Grandchildren.


Author’s Inspiration.

With the unexpected death of her mother only weeks after the birth of her first child, Cate was inspired to write Groovy Granny as an exploration into her curiosity as to how her mother may have been as a grandmother, should she have lived to enjoy the process.

It was Cate’s hope when writing Groovy Granny to highlight how much of our identity is encapsulated in our past, be that in our ancient possessions or in the elders of our family. Hopefully, through involving previous generations in the communal rearing of our children we are able to tap into some of the most valuable sources of learning. Grandparents are uniquely precious custodians of history, they help us to not only gain

understanding of who they are, but ultimately learn to better understand ourselves.



Author Information:

Cath Haynes was born in 1965 to a Dutch mother and an Australian Father. She grew up in Nedlands, Western Australia. She is married with two children and is currently living on a property near the outskirts of Mandurah, W.A.

Groovy Granny is her first book.


Educational Adaptability:

The book could be used most successfully at lower primary level to teach respect and concern for others and their rights. Sensitivity to and concern for other people. Respect for the elderly and the value of cultural diversity.


Topics and Issues For Classroom Discussion



Investigate how elderly people are represented in books, the media and advertisements.

How do Groovy Granny and her friend Willemina Funnywood differ from these representations?

How do your own grandparents compare to Granny and Willemina?



After the fire Granny is not as much fun as she was.

Why did Granny change so much?

What sort of things can make people very sad and unhappy?

Has anything happened in your life that has made you feel particularly sad?

What made you feel better?

How do you think Granny felt when she saw her grandchildren having so much fun with her friend, Willemina Funnywood.



The fire in the book destroyed granny’s house and all her possessions.

How do you think the fire could have been avoided?

Is it safe to light candles in the house?

Are smoke alarms a good idea?

Is there anything else Granny could have done to avert such a disaster.


Intergenerational relationships:

In the book Granny and the Grandchildren do lots of interesting and exciting things together.

What sort of things do you do with your grandparents?

Do you think Granny learns anything from her Grandchildren?

Sometimes Grandparents live a long way away from their Grandchildren.

What are some the ways that Grandparents and Grandchildren can keep in touch?