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Grandma's Smile
     

Grandma's Smile

by Randy Siegel, DyAnne DiSalvo (Illustrator)
 

On a snowy day in the city, a boy gets an important phone call from his grandmother: she's lost her smile. There's only one thing to do: fly down south on an urgent mission, stuffed bunny in tow, to find that smile and return it to its rightful place. But he won't have to look very hard. . .

Overview

On a snowy day in the city, a boy gets an important phone call from his grandmother: she's lost her smile. There's only one thing to do: fly down south on an urgent mission, stuffed bunny in tow, to find that smile and return it to its rightful place. But he won't have to look very hard. . .

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
The no-nonsense narrator of this clever book, who is "six and three-quarters," is a busy guy ("Plenty of things to worry about. Plenty of problems to solve"). But when his grandmother, who "lives far away, near the ocean," reports that she has lost her smile, he drops everything and flies to her side. Even very young readers will figure out Grandma's figure of speech, but that's not the real attraction. Rather, it's the story of the slog that is air travel, and how the narrator copes--his aplomb is worthy of George Clooney in Up in the Air. "Thanks for being so patient," says the boy's mother, after they have endured long lines, bad food, and delays. "I'm only being patient because there's no point being impatient," he replies. DiSalvo's (The Sloppy Copy Slipup) sketch-style watercolors achieve an authenticity and immediacy that should give even infrequent fliers a shudder of recognition. Debut author Siegel sometimes stretches credulity with his hero's knowingness (there's a fine line between being wise beyond one's years and being insufferable), but overall this is a wry and contemporary reality check on the going-to-Grandma's genre. Ages 4-8. (Aug.)
From the Publisher

“Randy Siegel and illustrator DyAnne DiSalvo perfectly capture the bond between children and their grandparents in this charming picture book about a little boy who sets out to find his grandmother's lost smile.” —PARADE magazine

“Kids who have traveled will identify with all the details and hassles of traveling.” —Examiner.com, Top 10 Books of 2010 for Kids

“Happy watercolors, wry humor and a fine sense of family will please weary young travelers—and their grandmas.” —Cleveland Plain Dealer

“DiSalvo's watercolor illustrations bring to life Siegel's self-assured protagonist and his journey from the wintery north to his grandmother's arms.” —School Library Journal

“A wry and contemporary reality check on the going-to-Grandma's genre.” —Publishers Weekly

“Long-distance grandmothers everywhere will sympathize with Grandma as she searches for her lost smile in her grandson's picture, among his toys and in his bedroom, just as they will rejoice in the pair's loving reunion; those who read this may try a similar trick.” —Kirkus Reviews

“This picture book accurately reflects many kids' experiences of airports, because it emphasizes the tedium of waiting as well as the long hallways, moving walkways, stairs, and escalators traversed. DiSalvo's mixed-media illustrations capture the child's experience with emotional warmth and rewarding attention to detail.” —Booklist

Children's Literature - Sheilah Egan
Traveling by airplane is an adventure, but sometimes the process requires a great deal of "patience." Being six and three-quarters years old often requires a great deal of patience, too. The unnamed fellow of this story is very active and has a variety of interests, as shown in the colorful watercolor and pencil illustration of his bedroom. We then see him with his mother shoveling a path through a great snowfall. He receives a phone call from his Grandma, who has a troubling problem—she has lost her smile. Despite having hunted for it everywhere, she is unable to find it; she needs her grandson to help her find it again. He readily agrees to pack up and fly to her aid. Mom makes the arrangements and they navigate through all of the security checks and long lines of waiting passengers. The illustrations are detailed examinations of people in an airport and on a plane—the expressions on the peoples' faces are extremely amusing. The difficulty of flying (after 2001) may be depicted in a more negative way than is absolutely necessary but there is a kernel of truth in all of the disgruntlement evident in the pictures. Needless to say, when Grandma is spotted waiting for them at their destination, there is great joy on everyone's face. Grandson "flies" into Grandma's arms and her smile reappears miraculously. The last scene shows them settled on the beach under a sun umbrella surrounded by many of the things the boy has managed to pack for the trip. This title may help new "fliers" face the requirements for flying "with patience," while underlying the importance of getting to visit relatives—when possible. Reviewer: Sheilah Egan
School Library Journal
K-Gr 2—What is a boy willing to do to help his grandmother find her smile? The hero of this story patiently endures long lines at the airport check in, security gate, and boarding area, and a long flight. After all, when it comes to helping Grandma, "a guy's gotta do what a guy's gotta do." The message is delivered through the delightful voice of a precocious six-year-old who is sure that what he is doing is important. DiSalvo's watercolor illustrations bring to life Siegel's self-assured protagonist and his journey from the wintery north to his grandmother's arms. As the boy leaves his homey apartment on his journey to where his grandmother waits, the gray skies outside the airport gradually change to the sunny skies over her retirement community. As a result, readers feel as if they have accomplished a journey along with the undaunted boy and his mother.—Donna Cardon, Provo City Library, UT
Kirkus Reviews
Siegel's debut is a whimsical salute to the lengths grandmothers will go to to see their grandchildren. When the young narrator's grandmother calls up to say that she has lost her smile, he is appalled and quickly agrees to drop everything and fly down to help her find it. So he packs his suitcase—with flashlight, magnifying glass, tool belt, telescope and clothes—and heads from the wintry city to the sunny southern beaches, giving readers a nice introduction to airports and flying along the way. And that smile of Grandma's? Turns out it wasn't so hard to find after all. The juxtaposition of the young boy's age ("six and three-quarters") and his grown-up attitude makes for some pretty funny lines—"I'm only being patient because there's no point being impatient," he says. DiSalvo's softly colored illustrations continue the tongue-in-cheek humor. Long-distance grandmothers everywhere will sympathize with Grandma as she searches for her lost smile in her grandson's picture, among his toys and in his bedroom, just as they will rejoice in the pair's loving reunion; those who read this may try a similar trick. (Picture book. 4-8)

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9781596434387
Publisher:
Roaring Brook Press
Publication date:
08/17/2010
Pages:
32
Product dimensions:
9.90(w) x 10.10(h) x 0.40(d)
Age Range:
4 - 8 Years

Meet the Author

Randy Siegel has written for newspapers and magazines around the country and was until recently the president and publisher of Parade magazine. He lives in the New York City area.

DyAnne DiSalvo is the author and/or illustrator of more than fifty books for children. Her first novel, The Sloppy Copy Slipup, was nominated for five Young Reader state awards. You can usually find her working in her studio near Philadelphia, PA.

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