Mark's Reviews > Grandpa Green

Grandpa Green by Lane Smith
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's review
Nov 03, 2011

really liked it
bookshelves: children-youngadults
Read on October 14, 2011

Text below are mainly based from the book's jacketflap.

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.
Follow Grandpa Green's great-grandson through a garden where memories are handed down in the fanciful shapes of topiary trees and imagination recreates things forgotten.

In his most enigmatic and beautiful work to date, notable picture book creator Lane Smith explores aging, memory and the bonds of family history and love. By turns touching and whimsical, Grandpa Green opens the door to a garden of wonder for parents, grandparents, and children alike.

The illustrations say what the text doesn't need to—that the love between boy and elder is elemental and honest. One surprising and sparkling gatefold shows the whole garden, with Grandpa Green working on his newest creation: his grandson fighting a dragon. Readers who slow down will be rewarded by this visual feast that grows richer with each visit. Though this book has lots of adult appeal, it will also be a wonderful bridge to exploring family history with the very young.
Although it will resonate more with adults than kids, Grandpa Green should go down as one of the more beautiful and carefully-crafted picture books of 2011. It’s apt that the book trailer ends with the tagline “For grownups to read to those still growing”, because that is exactly the setting needed for this book to reach its full potential.

Lane Smith is most recently the author and illustrator of It's a Book, which spent six months on the New York Times bestseller list and has been translated into seventeen languages. His other works include the national bestsellers, John, Paul, George & Ben and Madam President. He has illustrated books by Dr. Seuss, Roald Dahl, Jack Prelutsky, Florence Parry Heide, and Jon Scieszka, including The Stinky Cheese Man, for which he received a Caldecott Honor award. He lives in rural Connecticut with his wife, book designer Molly Leach.

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