Monday, June 10, 2013

Picture Book Review: Grandpa Green by Lane Smith


Smith, Lane. 2011. GRANDPA GREEN. New York, NY: Roaring Book Press. ISBN 9781596436077

Grandpa Green's life will never be forgotten.  Told through the eyes of his great-grandson, Grandpa Green's memories are shown through his garden of topiary trees.  Tree images of his childhood, life as a farm boy, his coming of age, and his future as an adult are depicted through a wondrous garden that serves like a real-life scrapbook. Grandpa Green is more than just an old man who loves to garden.  He had an interesting life and even if his memories fail him, his garden won't.


Smith's story is easy to read and is for all age groups. The story is told through the eyes of a small boy which connects the young reader to their own grandfather, or an adult to their own childhood experiences with their grandparents.  Readers young and old can see how different life was for their grandparents and will have a better appreciation for these differences and the elderly. 

Much of this story is told through the pictures that, in many ways, reveal more than the words.  It is through the pictures that you get a sense of emotion from the story and how Grandpa Green must have felt throughout his life experiences.  The images transport you to his time and make you feel you are going through these milestones along with him. For example, when Grandpa Green married his wife, his topiary tree of a very large, tiered wedding cake is taller than the trees around it and you look up to it much like a skyscraper in a crowded city.  This depiction gives you the impression he was feeling larger than life and was very happy during this time. The colors of green and red are most prominent throughout the book and are artfully textured to give you that three-dimensional feel. 

This book is great to share with readers of any age who love creatively illustrated stories, family history, and the love and connections of family.

Caldecott Honor Award

Booklist Review: “Sketched with a finely lined fairy-tale wispiness and dominated by verdant green, the illustrations are not just creative but poignant.” (

School Library Journal Starred Review: "Visually intriguing and emotionally resonant, this is a book to pore over and talk about. With each subsequent reading, it offers new layers of meaning and visual connections." (

*This book is great to share to give young children and give them an understanding that the adults in their life were once their age too and to show generational differences and love of family.  It is also a great book to share to show how illustrations can impact the telling of a story.

*Collect other books written and illustrated by Lane Smith such as: IT'S A BOOK, JOHN, PAUL, GEORGE & BEN, ABE LINCOLN'S DREAM, and MADAM PRESIDENT. Other books illustrated by Lane Smith are THE STINKY CHEESE MAN AND OTHER FAIRLY STUPID TALES written by Jon Scieszka, and THE TRUE STORY OF THE THREE LITTLE PIGS by Jon Scieszka. 

*Other picture books about families and generational differences:
Bunting, Eve. GOING HOME. Ill. by David Diaz. ISBN:  0060262966
Lindbergh, Reeve. MY HIPPIE GRANDMOTHER. Ill. by Abby Carter. ISBN: 0763606715

No comments:

Post a Comment