Grandpa Green
Lane Smith
Caldecott Honor
2011

I’m partial to books which celebrate grandparents and their legacy. Some picture book classics along these lines exist (Tomie dePaola’s Nana Upstairs and Nana Downstairs is one). This year, the Caldecott committee honored a grandparent book, and I am delighted! Grandpa Green tells the story of one great grandfather’s legacy to his great grandson–all found in his expertly clipped and trimmed garden.

Grandpa Green is one of those books that grows on you. When you finish it the first time, you are touched and may think a “sweet story.” Upon a reread, however, new images strike your eye, new revelations perhaps. When you finish it the second time, you may just open it and reread it again! And, this is true for kids, too, if mine are any indication. Repeated requests for the “green grandpa” book heralded me at every home storytime whilst this book was in our house. They pored over it during rest time. They laughed and pointed out the new images they noticed.

Did my children “get it”? I don’t know. I tried to point out what the child was doing at the end of the book in honor of his great grandfather. Maybe the sweet, restful nature of the images will sink in, and this book will come back from memory at a time in the future. But I am also content to reread a gentle, grandparent-honoring book with them and know they appreciate it at some level even now.

Book from library; cover image from goodreads

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