Grandpa Green by Lane Smith (Roaring Brook, August 2011) is the story of a past generation through the eyes of a great-grandson. The young great-grandson knows Grandpa’s story because Grandpa, a gardener, has created a topiary garden with statues that remind him of the past.
My son (age 4) and I loved the story of Grandpa’s life, and I think an older child would appreciate it even more. Although the story of remembering Grandpa’s life is notable and memorable in and of itself, Grandpa Green is also fantastic because of its wonderful illustrations. The front matter indicates that they are partly watercolor and oil paint and digital paint (the green foliage) and partly brush and waterproof drawing ink (the sketches of the people). I loved the blend of two types of illustrations.
As the young boy walks through the garden illustrating Grandpa’s life, he finds gardening tools Grandpa has left behind, thus hinting at the fact that we’ll discover at the end: that Grandpa is now forgetful. From now on, the grandson will remember for him. Fantastic book in all ways.
(Nominated for the 2011 Cybils award by Isaac Z).
Awarded a 2012 Caldecott Honor