Books for Younguns, Young Adults and the Young-at-Heart

Sunday, December 4, 2011

Grandpa Green

A young boy discovers his great-grandfather's life story through the topiary in his garden.

Grandpa Green by Lane Smith is one of The New York Times Best Illustrated Childrens' Books of 2011.  It's also Left Bank Books' holiday pick for Best Gift for Grandparents to Give.

This book offers a significant departure from the tongue-in-cheek humor of much of Lane's best-known work (including It's a Little Book).  Instead we find sweet sentimentality that manages to avoid vering into the maudlin.  The great-grandfather here has experienced sickness and war, created art and a family and commemorated it all in his hedges.  Our narrator guides us through that life in simple, child-like terms that show his appreciation and love for the older generation.  The monochromatic illustrations add an ethereal, yet playful, note.  The story ends with a gorgeous fold-out spread depicting the entire garden.  Each time you look at it, you will find something different.  This is a great book to introduce children to the concept that their older family members have lots of unimaginable experiences and stories to share.

Grandpa Green is published by Roaring Brook Press and retails for $16.99.  I got my copy by picking it up off the shelves for a few minutes.  You can get your copy from Left Bank Books today!

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