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What Do Parents Do?

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The tables are turned and the grown-ups have all the fun in this wickedly silly story of parental mayhem.

When two children set off to stay the night at their grandparents', they spend their day imagining what their parents are doing while they're away. Jumping on beds, they think, or sledding down the stairs on pillows. Watching hours of television, playing ball in the house, eating junk food, and making one VERY big mess!

When the kids come home the house looks tidy. It was pretty quiet, says Dad...but was it? Mom is hiding something behind her back, and those socks hanging from the ceiling fan weren't there yesterday.

Cyd Moore's antic illustrations contrast the wild adventures at home with the more wholesome fun at the children's' grandparents' house. Jeanie Ransom's clever tale will keep young readers laughing long after the story has ended.


First published March 1, 2007

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About the author

Jeanie Franz Ransom

10 books22 followers
Jeanie Franz Ransom is a children's picture-book author and former elementary school counselor with a penchant for puns and a fondness for fractured fairytales. Her books include the award-winning "What Really Happened to Humpty?" and "The Crown Affair," and her newest title, "Cowboy Car."

Jeanie also writes self-help books for kids and the adults in their lives, including "Don't Squeal Unless It's' a Big Deal: A Tale of Tattletales," "Big Red and the Little Bitty Wolf: A Story About Bullying," and "There's a Cat in Our Class: A Tale About Getting Along."

Jeanie divides her time between St. Louis, MO, and Northport, MI, and is a frequent presenter at schools, libraries, and conferences. To et updates on Jeanie's books and special events, follow her on Facebook.com/JeanieRansomAuthor, or visit www.jeanieransom.com..

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5 stars
21 (24%)
4 stars
33 (38%)
3 stars
23 (27%)
2 stars
7 (8%)
1 star
1 (1%)
Displaying 1 - 25 of 25 reviews
Profile Image for midnightfaerie.
1,930 reviews121 followers
August 17, 2013
Another enchanting book I picked up for .50 cents at a library sale! A fun story about what parents really do when the children are away! (Like play with the kid's toys and jump on the bed!) After reading it, my 5 yr old son asked seriously whether we did this when he was gone. Just as seriously I said "Absolutely!" A great story that can be read over and over again, probably about a level 1 reading level.

-read it again today, and it's still a big favorite in our family!
Profile Image for Candice.
1,396 reviews
December 9, 2011
As a little boy and his sister head for their grandparents' house to spend the night, he imagines what his parents will be doing while the kids are gone - all of the things he is not allowed to do, such as jump on the bed, watch endless TV, read comic books, and snack in bed. The colorful illustrations showing the parents doing these activities are very humorous. A smaller picture on each page shows what the children are doing at their grandparents' house. Not for the very young because they wouldn't understand the humor, but older picture-book readers would love it!
Profile Image for Amy Porter.
32 reviews1 follower
February 14, 2017
This was a very fun book to read. It gives some examples of what parents might do with day without their children. These were things i would definitely not see my parents doing, but who knows they probably do do this when they get a break from my siblings. The illustrations were fun detailed and colorful. (Realistic Fiction)
10 reviews
November 20, 2017
Two kids go to spend the night at their grandparents, and begin to wonder what their parents do while they are away. Do they jump on the bed, watch TV, eat junk food? The kids basically think they make one big mess! When the kids get home, they ask what they do while they are gone, and are left with a pretty ambiguous answer. This book displays imagination and perceived family dynamics. I totally used to imagine what my parents might be doing when I wasn't around, so this book would have amused me as a child. I recommend this book, because it might be a catalyst to start a different conversation about families in the classroom, and start a different kind of conversation between parents and children. It could also make for some really fun classroom activities!
44 reviews
November 28, 2018
What Do Parents Do? (When You're Not Home) is about a brother and sister who are sent to stay with their grandparents for the day and they wonder what do their parents do when they are not there. In this story it is described that parents basically act like big kids. They do all the things that they tell their children not to do. This story is funny and the illustrations are very colorful and descriptive. The whole page is what the parents are doing and in the corner of the pages is a illustration of what the kids are doing with their grandparents. A great read aloud story.
55 reviews
September 11, 2017
This picture book was really adorable. It describes what a boy who spends the night at his grandparents thinks his parents do when the kids are gone, and it is pretty funny. I think that kids would get a kick out of this book, as they question what their own parents might do when they aren't around. I thought the illustrations were awesome, too.
249 reviews2 followers
July 28, 2019
A story about what parents do when kids aren’t home... a sweet look at the fun a couple has when their kids go to the grandparents.
October 31, 2013
This is a cute book that explores what parents do when the kids are gone at Grandma's for the weekend. The parents do things that the kids would do like jump on the bed, eat dessert before breakfast, run around the house, and sled down the stairs. Meanwhile the kids are behaving nicely at Grandma's and discussing what mom and dad are probably doing at home. This is a good book for making predictions and sequencing.
31 reviews
February 24, 2015
This book is a very funny book, I like this book because the parents and children change role. This book also shares plenty of good images. You can even understand the book as the children using their imagination when they believe what there parents do while their not home. I recommend this book to anyone who wants to laugh and enjoy a funny book with their children. I rate this book a five start because I always enjoy a good laugh.
Profile Image for Diana Acosta.
59 reviews
February 23, 2015
This book was fun to read, it had good vocabulary. The illustrations were interesting to watch due to the parents are jumping in the bed or the day go to bed with out brushing their teeth. I would read it to my future children if they go to their parents house and ask me what Am I going to do while they are gone.
Profile Image for Yi-ching.
7 reviews1 follower
August 15, 2007
The illustrations contrast the parents' wild adventures at home (jumping on beds, getting dirty socks up on the ceiling fan, dressing up the dog...) with the children's wholesome fun at their grandparents' house.
31 reviews
June 10, 2014
This is a very funny book. One learning experience that I thought of is using this for children to write in their own words what they thought their parents do when they aren't at home. The children could possibly act out what they wrote.
Profile Image for Tricia.
2,669 reviews
May 4, 2008
funny tale of parents being naughty while the kids are at grandparents for the night.
77 reviews1 follower
July 28, 2011
Amusing speculation from a kid's point of view about parents getting away with all the stuff they are always lecturing their kids about. --Laurie
Profile Image for Mandy.
1,221 reviews6 followers
May 6, 2012
(4.5 stars)

The kids are off to spend the weekend with grandma and grandpa. What will mom and dad do while they are away?
Profile Image for Magila.
1,328 reviews15 followers
April 28, 2014

Didn't love this, but it wasn't bad. Art was entertaining, and the story is ok. I wouldn't seek it out, but if it's at your library you might grab it once.

Not really recommended.
June 7, 2014
This is a fun book. I laughed at the many ideas. This is a book I would read to lead into a creative exploration activities. This book is very enjoyable.
February 24, 2015
this story lets children use their imagination of what they think their parents do when their not home. This is good to read to the children while they are in school and mom and dad are at home.
Profile Image for The Brothers.
4,118 reviews21 followers
March 7, 2016
A fun little story of what two children suspect their parents are up to (all sorts of naughty things) when they go to spend the night at their grandparents.

Fun illustrations.
Displaying 1 - 25 of 25 reviews

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