We knew him as the first openly gay character on TV. We watched him host the Oscars and appear on Saturday Night Live. Now Billy Crystal has the role of a lifetime. He's a grandparent, and he has turned that experience into two children's books which will be loved by grandparents as well. His first book, I Already Know I Love You, is a great gift for expectant grandparents or for grandparents to give to the expectant parents.
Most of all, it is a wonderful book for grandparents to share with grandchildren, to let them know how eagerly their births were anticipated.
Story by Billy Crystal
I Already Know I Love You is a mix of the universal -- "I'm waiting to play horsey, and bounce you on my lap "-- and the personal -- "We'll go to see the Yankees, though your daddy loves the Sox." Crystal lacks the instincts of a natural poet. His verse sometimes lumbers rather than dances, and rhymes can seem strained: "I'm waiting to show you the stars, / storm clouds and the moon. / I want to make silly faces / and laugh just like a goon." Still, grandparents are bound to go all gooey at the book's closing couplet, "I'm going to be your grandpa, and ... / I can hardly wait."
Illustrations by Elizabeth Sayles
The soft pastel illustrations by Elizabeth Sayles complement the text, depicting a wavy-haired grandpa and a brown-eyed granddaughter.
The duo share all kinds of adventures. They go to the beach, visit the the zoo and fly kites. They go to a ball game (of course) and watch a movie. Incidentally, Crystal didn't know the gender of his grandchild when he wrote the book. The expectant parents had chosen not to know, but the arrival of Ella Ryan put an end to the suspense, although not, I expect, to the fun.
Having Billy Crystal for a grandpa must be quite a kick. He's quite the model of a celebrity grandfather, one who puts his grandchild above scoring another movie role -- or another starlet. He's been married to his wife Janice since 1970, and he is now the grandfather of four. I'm glad he decided to share some of the experience in I Already Know I Love You and his second children's book, Grandpa's Little One.
Billy Crystal Fun Facts
- He was Jay Leno's first guest on the Tonight Show.
- Besides being a Yankees fan, he also roots for the Los Angeles Clippers and is partial owner of the Arizona Diamondbacks.
- He went to a small college on a baseball scholarship, but budget cuts killed the program before he got to play.
- He was once a high school teacher, teaching shop, girls gym and math.