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View all 5 comments. Nov 05, Steph Sinclair rated it it was amazing Shelves: short-and-sweet , i-need-to-buy-this-book , yeah-babystars , reads , to-buy-soon , original-and-creative , favs , awesome , surprised-me , children-s. 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. View all 3 comments. Sep 12, Krista the Krazy Kataloguer rated it it was amazing Shelves: read-caldecott , read-childrens-books.

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 I'd much sooner have made this one the Caldecott winner this year that Chris Raschka's book. It took me a few pages to realize that the hedges and bushes were trimmed into objects matching the story, but once I caught on, it was absolutely delightful.


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I only wondered about one thing--how did Lane Smith get away with the cleavage on the bush shaped like his future wife? Aside from that, the book was a visual pleasure, especially the surprise 4-page spread at the end. Highly recommended! Mar 21, Boni rated it liked it. 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. Nov 24, Amy rated it it was amazing Shelves: sweet-petites. The pictures are beautifully done with clever aids to the storytelling that you must seek out. Nov 26, Kathryn rated it it was amazing Shelves: picture-books. I love the pen and sponge illustrations, and the story is really cute too.

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. I know that having a book written and illustrated by one person lends itself to this kind of layering as the artist knows when to let the pictures speak and when the words are needed, but it got me thinking about how and where writers can leave room for the illustrations.


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Jan 23, Luann rated it it was amazing Shelves: , caldecott-honor , picture-book. 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! 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 I read through this at least four times - and enjoyed it more each time. There are layers here - and great-grandparents can probably appreciate this story better than any other age. How many picture books can you say that about? Sep 10, Laura rated it it was amazing Shelves: caldecott-honor , childrens. Caldecott Honor This one is so sweet. Told through the eyes of a great-grandson, he tells the life story of his great grandpa. His great grandpa loves horticulture and the illustrations to the story are all done using topiary garden figures.

This book subtlety and cleverly expresses love, family, and a generation of life before now, in this heartwarming picture book. Aug 17, Scope rated it liked it Shelves: This much is clear - Smith ain't afraid to make bold choices. Grandpa Green is bold, but in a different way - here Smith explores the life of a man in his golden years. While the sentiment involved won't stir kids' emotions as it will adults, it is a book that stands out. How to classify this story? A topiary flashback? A botanical biography? The book begins with a boy walking through a massive garden filled with expertly trimmed greenery.

The mood is reflective as the boy narrates: He was born a really long time ago, before computers or cell phones or television. He grew up on a farm with pigs and corn and carrots Each line is punctuated by a new topiary creation - rabbit, carrot, rooster.

Grandpa Green

At each stop the boy collects a different gardening item. The story continues through the man's life - his first crush, his plans to study horticulture, his military sidetrack - to the current day. The boy brings the forgotten items to his Grandpa Green, who is furiously carving an elephant. Appropriate, as the garden is his way to never forget the past. The artwork is among the best of the year so far. Fluid characters rendered in ink set against lush green foliage crafted out of watercolor, digital, and oil paint. And clever too - repeat readings bring out details that will delight.

The images guide the spare text so well that the words seem to almost disappear - not a easy feat. It's worth noting that Grandpa Green looks completely different from It's a Book. All around impressive. A lot of comparisons can be drawn to Pixar's Up. Both are essentially about a senior citizen. Both feature a boy protagonist and his connection to the old man. Both subtly touch on themes of mortality.

Grandpa Green

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 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. Oct 23, Dolly rated it it was amazing Recommends it for: parents reading with their children. Shelves: childrens , aviation , france-french , military , relationships , , caldecott-honor , picture-book-club , gardens-flowers , favorites.

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 I absolutely love this story. We really enjoyed reading it together and I have read it again on my own several times more.

We were introduced to Lane Smith 's illustrations from his collaboration with Jon Scieszka on the Time Warp Trio series, but have really come to appreciate his work as both an author and illustrator. This book was certainly worthy of it's Caldecott Honor.

Oct 21, Heather rated it really liked it Shelves: picture-books. Whether kids reading this story will capture all messages hidden in the brief text and pictures remains to be seen, but the message that grandkids and grandparents have plenty to offer will be sure to hit home to the young and old alike. View 1 comment. Dec 01, 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 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 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. Perhaps, this was the author's intent, but I felt it was very confusing. But it may just be too subtle for the intended audience. The use of green illustrations with moments of red, and how that ties into the "Grandpa Green" title and theme is interesting but not necessarily compelling.

Just so so for me. In terms of Caldecott contenders, there are better choices out there for Sep 12, Jenny rated it really liked it Shelves: caldecott , children-s-books , picture-books. I loved this! I thought it was so clever how the garden showcases the grandfather's life. I love that while the story is fairly simple, it hints at a rich life filled with joy and sorrow, hobbies, family, love, difficulty and triumph. And the illustrations really are the star of the show in this sweet book.

It made me think of my grandpa, who I miss a great deal, and what remains to remember his life not much that is tangible Love, love, love this!! Jul 03, Robin Stevens rated it it was amazing. Not many books can make me spontaneously begin to cry in under 30 pages, but this one managed it effortlessly. An utterly lovely book for anyone aged 2 and up. I recommend adults read it too! Please do not use it in any marketing material, online or in print, without asking permission from me first. Thank you! Sep 18, Katie Fitzgerald rated it it was amazing Shelves: format-picture-books , caldecott-honor.

Grandpa Green Book Review

This picture book by usual funny guy Lane Smith deviates from his usual fare to tell the touching story of a grandpa and his garden. The story opens with a giant topiary baby, made to look like it's crying. The texture and color of the greenery show us that the baby is a bush, not a person, but the text doesn't tell us who it is meant to portray. Rather, it simply begins, "He was born a really long time ago[. We meet our narrator, a lit This picture book by usual funny guy Lane Smith deviates from his usual fare to tell the touching story of a grandpa and his garden.

We meet our narrator, a little boy in overalls, who is turning the knob on a hose. Down a long path on the recto side of the page, we see trees, bushes, and more topiaries. It's clear that we're in a garden. As the book progresses, the boy leads us through more and more scenes in the life of the garden's creator, who, we begin to realize, is his great-grandfather, Grandpa Green. The garden brings us right up the present, where rows upon rows of little topiary people stand - and then the boy tells us, "He used to remember everything. Where does he keep his memories? A long, pull-out illustration of Grandpa's entire garden gives us the answer.

I was really blown away by this book. It managed to manipulate my emotions in just the right way, so that the big reveal brought about sudden and spontaneous tears. The story is deceptively simple, and the illustrations are gorgeous. I love the contrast between the lush greenery of each of Grandpa's carefully sculpted bushes, with the pencil drawings that portray tree trunks, the little boy, his wagon, and eventually, Grandpa himself. I also liked the juxtaposition of the little boy's spirited youth, with Grandpa's slowing down and slowly fading. 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. I think this book would certainly provide that same sense for preschoolers, without upsetting them or causing them to worry. And now that I've seen this side of Lane Smith, I have to wonder what other sides of his talent the world has yet to see!

Read for nerdcott. Jun 30, 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 I was excited when I watched the book trailer for Grandpa Green. The garden looks like a war scene. The little boy is in this seen. A cannon is firing over his head and a plane appears to be going down in flames, soldiers in parachutes falling from the sky, and what is all the red splatter?

Grandpa Green by Lane Smith

Blood or booms is my only guess. There are a great number of children who's parents are in the military and serve over seas.

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Scenes like this could potentially upset a child. Maybe I am a little sensitive to the issue since my brother-in-law has a toddler and he often goes to foreign countries to clean up the aftermath of bombs or to disarm them. This story about a great grandson walking through his great grandfather's garden is a good concept. The garden retells his grandfather's life. I think this book would probably be best as a gift for a grandparent. I normally don't talk about the construction of a book. However, the book contains a fold out that in my opinion is poorly designed.

The flap pages should be slightly shorter to prevent the pages from creasing when the book is closed. This book is a new book from the library and I was surprised to find that the next time I opened the book the flaps were creased. Sep 16, Marika Gillis rated it really liked it Shelves: read-with-dd , read-with-ds , childrens-books , favorite-picture-books , caldecott-winners.

The beautiful shades of green that pop off every page are pleasing to the eye and make it clear why this book was a Caldecott Honor award winner. So he read stories about secret gardens and wizards and a little engine that could. Someday, I would love to have students or my own kids write their own version of Grandpa Green for their own grandparent. It would be the most meaningful and heartwarming present.

This review was first published on my blog: Get Your Book On May 10, 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.