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Grandpa Green

4.10  ·  Rating Details  ·  5,748 Ratings  ·  673 Reviews
From the creator of the national bestseller It's a Book comes a timeless story of family history, legacy, and love.

Grandpa Green wasn't always a gardener. He was a farmboy and a kid with chickenpox and a soldier and, most of all, an artist. In this captivating new picture book, readers follow Grandpa Green's great-grandson into a garden he created, a fantastic world where
Hardcover, 32 pages
Published August 30th 2011 by Roaring Brook Press
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Me...Jane by Patrick McDonnellI Want My Hat Back by Jon KlassenGrandpa Green by Lane SmithPerfect Square by Michael  HallBlackout by John Rocco
2012 Mock Caldecott
3rd out of 85 books — 187 voters
The Curious Garden by Peter  BrownMiss Rumphius by Barbara CooneyThe Gardener by Sarah StewartPlanting a Rainbow by Lois EhlertMy Garden by Kevin Henkes
Picture Books About Gardens
6th out of 175 books — 97 voters

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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
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Dec 28, 2014 Ronyell rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: Lane Smith Fans!!!

“He was a boy on a farm and a kid with chickenpox. He was a soldier and a husband, and a gardener, and most of all, an artist.”

I have read many books that were either illustrated or written by Lane Smith and some of my favorite books that were both illustrated and written by Lane Smith was “It’s a Book.” But, I had discovered this new book by Lane Smith called “Grandpa Green,” which was a Caldecott Honor book and it was seriously one of Lane Smith’s most heartwarming books ever written!

The bo
Mar 14, 2015 nicole rated it liked it
Recommends it for: Grandpas
Shelves: picture-books
Maybe I'm wrong and more kids will be drawn into the images than I realize, but I'm having trouble seeing Grandpa Green as anything other than a father's or grandparent's day gift. It's a picture book for adults (which the dump will tell you itself), specifically male adults and I'm curious as to how engaging child readers will find it. That's okay though. Clearly Lane Smith is well into a point in his career where he can write picture books for whomever he likes, regardless of how small the int ...more
Steph Sinclair

This is a phenomenal children's book. The illustrations are very well done. A great-grandson tells the story of his great-grandpa's life with the help of drawings of artistically manicured shrubbery. This was very well done and sure to become a favorite among kids and parents alike.
Edward Sullivan
Aug 18, 2011 Edward Sullivan rated it it was amazing
Shelves: picture-books
The most stunning children's book about topiary I have ever seen. Edward Scissorhands has got nothing on Grandpa Green!
Krista the Krazy Kataloguer
I'd much sooner have made this one the Caldecott winner this year that Chris Raschka's book. The story is told by a little boy who can be seen walking through a very unusual garden, and picking up various objects to put in his wagon as he goes. The real story is told by the illustrations, which are shaped like objects and events in the boy's description of his grandfather, the man who created the wonderful garden he is walking through. It took me a few pages to realize that the hedges and bushes ...more
Aug 22, 2011 John rated it liked it
Shelves: 2011
Art = 10 stars
Story = 3 stars
Feb 15, 2012 Luann rated it it was amazing
I read through this at least four times - and enjoyed it more each time. What a sweet and touching story! There are lots of details to notice and put together - and they come together in such an amazing and awesome way! THIS should have won the Caldecott Medal for this year! Although I'm very glad it at least won a Caldecott Honor - otherwise I might never have known about it and read it.

This is a picture book that works for any age. There are layers here - and great-grandparents can probably ap
Sep 14, 2011 Boni rated it liked it
Shelves: prev-library-rec
Art is of course fabulous (Lane Smith is a genius), but I think the story is a bit confusing for kids. Will wait a bit, then re-read- maybe it will strike me differently next time. Meanwhile, I'd venture this one is a picture book more for grown-ups- albeit a lovely one.
Mar 14, 2012 Dolly rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: parents reading with their children
I absolutely love this story. The biography of a man told in topiary. The narrative is very sparse and simple, but so much of the story is told within the shapes, characters and creatures in the topiary garden. I love the relationship between the great-grandson and his great-grandfather and how he is aware of the man's past, if only the basic details. I love the warmth and familial ties that are woven throughout the green leaves and branches and it's a story that just makes me smile. We really e ...more
Oct 21, 2011 Heather rated it really liked it
Shelves: picture-books
In this mesmerizing picture book of intertwining generations, a great-grandson discovers the details of his Grandpa Green’s life by exploring a most unusual topiary garden. Like a cast of characters on a stage, Grandpa’s leafy green figures are symbolic representations of his life story—chicks hatching from eggs, a bushy cannon and parachuting soldiers; a giant wedding cake topped with a youthful bride and groom. Smith’s mixed media illustrations are both playful and brimming with meaning. In on ...more
Jan 27, 2014 Kathryn rated it it was amazing
Shelves: picture-books
11/26/11 What a beautiful book! I love the pen and sponge illustrations, and the story is really cute too.

1/25/14 This is probably the best example of a layered picture book I have ever seen, with three stories in one. You have the rather simple narrative of the boy telling the story of his great-grandfather, all in the text. Then you have the story of the little boy tending and playing in the garden. And then there’s the story told in the topiary garden itself—a legacy left by an old man to his
Darin Nordman
Sep 08, 2014 Darin Nordman rated it really liked it
Grandpa Green by Lane Smith

This book seemed more on the sophisticated side. An overall good choice, this book seems to take place in modern day, following a boy who shares stories of his grandfather. The boy told stories of his grandfather at a young age, fighting in the World War, and wanting to study horticulture. It was descriptive in the author's writing as well as the illustrations. Each illustration matched the stories using garden plants. The book was very creative and elaborated on how t
Apr 17, 2015 Ashley rated it liked it
3.5/5. Lovely illustrations and sweet sentiment, but geared more towards moving the adult reading the book than inspiring the child listening to it. It has not been a popular checkout at my library, though we have tried to promote it and keep it visible. I absolutely adore the concept and wish that it were even a little more engaging for the child because then I could see it being one of my favorites. You should borrow the book from your library and give it a try -- and I hope you have great suc ...more
May 08, 2015 Catherine rated it really liked it
Shelves: picture-books
The picture book, Grandpa Green, by Lane Smith follows Grandpa Green’s life from a boyhood and beyond through the perspective of his grandson. Through the bonds of family and love, Grandpa Green shares his passion for gardening with his grandson. The illustrations in this book are extraordinary and display important ideas of the circle of life. I was most entranced by the illustrations in the story and how the shrubby evolves throughout the pages. The illustrations are extremely detailed and vib ...more
Jul 25, 2011 Tasha rated it it was amazing
Shelves: picture-books
Grandpa Green was born long ago. He grew up on a farm, got chicken pox in fourth grade, and kissed a girl in middle school. Though he wanted to be a horticulturist, he ended up going to war. There he met his future wife, whom he married when the war ended. Now Grandpa Green is getting old and starting to forget things. But he doesn’t forget the most important things, because the garden keeps his memories for him.

Smith has created an amazing world in the pages of this book. It is a place where a
Crystal Marcos
Oct 06, 2011 Crystal Marcos rated it liked it
I was excited when I watched the book trailer for Grandpa Green. The illustrations are wonderful. The combination of brush and waterproof drawing ink, watercolor, oil paint, and digital paint between the characters and the garden were very nicely done. I am not really sure if the prominently green book will appeal to children. In all honesty this book seems like a story for adults. There is one particular illustration that just doesn't seem like it fits in a children's book. The garden looks lik ...more
Jan 24, 2012 Amy rated it it was amazing
Lane Smith's quirky humor, some topiaries, and you've got a winner.

A blogger I read said this was a book that was "for adults" so she resented having to purchase it because of the Caldecott Honor (2012). I can see her point, but I also wonder if this book couldn't be used to begin a conversation with a child about why grandpa or grandma, or even mom or dad doesn't always remember. Or can seem to remember things from 40 years ago, but doesn't know the child's name. More and more families have a m
Sandi Rossman
Sep 05, 2013 Sandi Rossman rated it really liked it
Shelves: libs-642
I reviewed this book for the choice category (picture book assignment). This book was a 2012 Caldecott Honor Book.

This deceptively simple story of a boy recounting his great-grandfather's life is really a tribute to a lifetime of a man's memories: growing up on a farm, fighting in a war, marrying, having children, and growing old. Each memory is fueled by imaginary shapes in a topiary garden that leads the boy straight to his target: his great-grandfather.

The visual elements is this book are en
Dec 04, 2011 Terri rated it liked it
If I look at this book through the eyes of the intended audience, a child, I don't think "Grandpa Green" by Lane Smith succeeds. I could not figure out where this was going. I couldn't figure out who the "he" in the book's opening was: "He was born a really long time ago..." Was it the green, fantasy-like creature portrayed on the first page? Was it the little boy whom we follow through the garden? Nope - it is the boy's grandfather, which is revealed at the very end of the book. Perhaps, this w ...more
Dec 14, 2012 Carolynne rated it it was amazing
Gentle story from an author whose illustrations are usually quirky and humorous, but this time more reflective, and, well, a little bit quirky too. This moving story describes the life of a boy who grows up to be a gifted horticulturalist, and who tells his own story in topiary shrubs. Language is quite simple (Lexile measure is 470), but it is a book best shared with a loving parent or grandparent. Compare to Nana Upstairs, Nana Downstairs and Now One Foot, Now the Other, both by Tomie dePaola. ...more
Shelby Zimmerman
Grandpa Green by Lane Smith is about a boy walking through a garden. It’s a garden representing stories and memories passed down from his grandpa. The illustrations show the memories and figures represented by the shaped trees. The bushes and hedges are shaped like figures, making it possible to understand the story without words.
Aug 30, 2011 Amy rated it really liked it
Shelves: picture-books
In Grandpa Green by Lane Smith, the color green is so brilliantly displayed throughout the book, there hasn't been such a powerful defining statement of that hue since Shel Silverstein's The Giving Tree. The pages were so beautiful and almost life-like, I was careful to turn each page so as not to "disturb the scenery." How precious is Grandpa Green to recreate all the special memories of his life in topiary form. Couldn't help but think of two very impactful relationships in my life with each o ...more
Katie Fitzgerald
The text has a real sincerity and truth to it, and the story arc is well-executed and ends at just the right moment. I tend to think of books about aging and death as either overly weepy or overly cheesy, but this book strikes just the right balance. I was moved, but not devastated, and though I felt sadness, I also felt a sense of hope and comfort, knowing that Grandpa's life was filled with wonderful memories.

Read my full review on my blog:

Read for #ne
First off, I was so, so THRILLED this won a Caldecott Honor! It definitely deserved it! I was first introduced to this story at the ALA conference and from the moment I read it I realized it was going to be a success. The story was sweet and I can see it appealing to a variety of ages. The illustrations are fantastic and perfectly suite the story! I also love how the greenery helps tell the story. I can see myself coming to this book again and again. Definitely recommend - go out and buy it!

Kelly Lynn Thomas
Jan 14, 2016 Kelly Lynn Thomas rated it really liked it
Shelves: childrens
Cute and touching, with beautiful illustrations.
Grandpa Green provides a sensitive account of a grandfather suffering memory loss, from the perspective of a great-grandchild. It's written very matter of fact - not sentimental. Grandpa had wanted to study horticulture but he went to a world war instead - this must be the story of many. The genius here is Lane Smith's illustrations that reveal Grandpa Green's memories and stories in the foliage of the garden he cares for. A beautiful book for understanding others.
Sep 09, 2015 ShelbySeeger rated it really liked it
Grandpa Green is a cute, heartwarming book that tells a story of the typical relationship of a child and his grandfather. Grandpa Green was made a Caldecott honor book in 2012 therefor it is not just a sweet story but has amazing detailed and vibrant illustrations.

Grandpa Green stars out with a young boy describing his great grandfather in a way that every grandchild can relate to and has heard their grandparents say at least once in their lifetime "He was born a really long time ago, before co
Jun 12, 2015 Allison rated it it was amazing
Shelves: library-program
Grandpa Green pays a touching tribute to grandparents without feeling heavy-handed. The story uses simple language to illustrate the important events in Grandpa Green’s life: his childhood, meeting his wife, and his growing family. The text is simple and minimal, which allows the reader to focus on the unique illustrations. The art is primarily shades of green and brown, and Smith uses varying texture to draw the reader in. Grandpa Green’s milestones are shown as topiaries, and soft line illustr ...more
Cassandra Collins
Mar 08, 2015 Cassandra Collins rated it it was amazing
Grandpa Green by Lane Smith tells the story of a little boy's grandfather. The little boy tells the audience how grew up, how he went to war, and how he got married. He tells the audience how his grandfather had many children and how above all that he is an artist. The grandfather is getting older so he sometimes forgets things, but he always has a story to share.

The illustrations were a key feature in telling this story. The boy's grandfather loved Topiary, so the story is told threw the garde
Taylor Whittaker
Mar 08, 2015 Taylor Whittaker rated it it was amazing
Grandpa Green is the most perfect story. Written the talented Lane Smith, Grandpa Green has a little bit of everything. As the young boy retells tid-bits of stories from his great grandpa's life, there is a connection between the two that forms in front of the reader. It is easy to see that the boy really looks up to Grandpa Green. With Grandpa Green losing his memories and creating topiaries to preserve them, the little boy makes the story more sweet and innocent for children to read.

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Smith was born in Tulsa, Oklahoma, but moved to Corona, California at a young age. He spent summers in Tulsa, however, and cites experiences there as inspirations for his work, saying that "[o]nce you've seen a 100-foot cement buffalo on top of a donut-stand (sic) in the middle of nowhere, you're never the same."

He studied art in college at the encouragement of his high school art teacher, helping
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