Publishers Weekly - Publisher's WeeklyGriffith follows up Georgia Music and Grandaddy's Place with this equally affecting account of Janetta's first visit to her grandfather's farm in a whole year. The youngster is worried that things won't be the same, or that Grandaddy won't recognize her when she steps off the train. Nothing has changed one iota, of course, including Grandaddy's easy manner and winning sense of humor. Six short chapters present thoroughly endearing vignettes of Janetta's visit, which Stevenson expertly illustrates with his trademark wispy watercolor and black-pen art. The dialogue between the girl and her grandfather is at once realistic and disarming, as Janetta listens to his tall tale about riding his mule across the entire U.S. in a single day, dances under the stars to the music of his mouth organ and learns that she can bring one of his cat's newborn kittens home with her. Kudos to Griffith and Stevenson for another poignant collaboration. Ages 5-up. (May)
Children's Literature - Deborah Zink RoffinoThis short, chapter book touches the insecurities of traveling alone and the hollow fear of homesickness. However, the real focus is the gentle relationship between a youngster and her grandfather.
School Library Journal - School Library JournalGr 2-4-- Griffith and Stevenson have created another delightful story with a slightly longer text (six short chapters) than Georgia Music (1986) and Grandaddy's Place (1987, both Greenwillow). Janetta takes the train from Baltimore to Georgia by herself to visit her grandfather, whom she hasn't seen in a year. She is relieved to find that he remembers her, as does Star, his mule. They enjoy the musical sounds of nature around the remote country house and spend their time gardening, telling stories, and generally enjoying one another's company. When a missing cat turns up with a litter of kittens, it is decided that Janetta should keep the one with a star on its head so that Grandaddy won't get it confused with the mule. Griffith's warm, satisfying story portrays an intergenerational friendship that glows with love and good humor. The old man's laconic responses and his recounting of his imaginary adventures will evoke chuckles from youngsters old enough to appreciate the subtle distinctions. Stevenson's incidental drawings and full-page illustrations depict a competent and independent pair whose relationship would be the envy of many children. A great family story that will also serve as a super read-aloud. --Susan Hepler, Alexandria City Public Schools, VA
Stephanie ZvirinStevenson's casual cartoonlike artwork seems initially a strange stylistic choice to pair with Griffith's charming story about a young girl's first unaccompanied visit to Grandaddy's. But in fact, the subdued watercolors, accented by a profusion of flowing ink details, temper the story's sweetness while beautifully capturing its gentle humor. In chapters just right for transitional readers, Griffith follows Janetta, at first scared and homesick, as she boards the train then arrives and begins to reacquaint herself with the farm, the mule, Star, and her comical grandparent: "`I was afraid you would have a beard, and I wouldn't recognize you,' Janetta told him. `That's funny,' Grandaddy said. `I was worried about the same thing. I thought to myself, if that child has grown a beard how will I ever know her?'" A quiet, tender story about intergenerational love.
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