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Grandpa Green

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Overview

From the creator of the national bestseller It's a Book comes a timeless story of family history, legacy, and love.

 

Grandpa Green wasn't always a gardener. He was a farmboy and a kid with chickenpox and a soldier and, most of all, an artist. In this captivating new picture book, readers follow Grandpa Green's great-grandson into a garden he created, a fantastic world where memories are handed down in the fanciful shapes of topiary trees ...

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Overview

From the creator of the national bestseller It's a Book comes a timeless story of family history, legacy, and love.

 

Grandpa Green wasn't always a gardener. He was a farmboy and a kid with chickenpox and a soldier and, most of all, an artist. In this captivating new picture book, readers follow Grandpa Green's great-grandson into a garden he created, a fantastic world 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, Lane Smith explores aging, memory, and the bonds of family history and love; by turns touching and whimsical, it's a stunning picture book that parents and grandparents will be sharing with children for years to come.

 

Grandpa Green is a Publishers Weekly Best Children's Picture Books title for 2011.

One of School Library Journal’s Best Picture Books of 2011.

A 2012 Caldecott Honor Book
A New York Times Best Illustrated Children's Book of 2011

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Editorial Reviews

From Barnes & Noble

Long before Grandpa Green was a gardener, he was a little boy too, with dreams and chicken pox and a history all his own. That history remains alive in the garden that his great-grandson now tends, a sanctuary where memories and family bonds seem to whisper in the wind. An enchanting picture book by author/illustrator Lane Smith. Editor's recommendation.

Publishers Weekly
In this reflective tale, Smith (It's a Book) departs from his customary irony to muse on the memories, talents, and traditions passed down through generations. Smith's young narrator, in overalls and rubber boots, describes his great-grandfather. The boy waters plants and tidies up in a magnificent topiary garden, lined in delicate ink and decorated with ornamental hedges in the shapes of people, animals, and iconic objects. "He was born a really long time ago, before computers or cell phones or television," says the boy, and the first topiary depicts a crying baby. Other creations include rabbit- and chicken-shaped shrubs to suggest a childhood farm; a head-shaped bush dotted with red berries ("In fourth grade he got chicken pox"); and an erupting cannon to signify wartime. Smith works in an impressionistic range of emerald, moss, and seaweed hues, memorializing Grandpa Green's life events in meticulously pruned shrubs. The child eventually catches up with an elderly man who "sometimes forgets things. But the important stuff, the garden remembers for him." It's a rare glimpse into Smith's softer side—as skillful as his more sly offerings, but crafted with honesty and heart. Ages 5–9. (Sept.)
From the Publisher

“In this affecting picture book, a boy recounts the life of his beloved great-grandfather…The author’s illustrations, a blend of line drawings and sponge painting, have a classic feel, and make clever use of the topiary theme, rewarding close examination and repeated reading.”--The New Yorker
 
“Great-grandpa’s memory may be going, but the past remains vibrantly alive in the playful topiaries that decorate his brilliantly green yard. Lush and magical.” --People
 
"An unassuming little masterpiece…the book’s power lies in its rich, allusive artistry.” --New York Times Book Review
 
“It's a rare glimpse into Smith's softer side--as skillful as his more sly offerings, but crafted with honesty and heart.” --Publishers Weekly 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."School Library Journal Starred Review

“Opening this book is like opening a gate to a secret garden, filled with the treasures of a life well lived. In his portrait of a boy who adores and honors his forgetful great-grandfather, Smith shows us that the things that are meaningful to the ones we love become part of our garden, too.” —Shelf Awareness

“Though this book has lots of adult appeal, it will also be a wonderful bridge to exploring family history with the very young.” —Kirkus Reviews

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

School Library Journal
K-Gr 3—A clever premise, brilliant pacing, and whimsical illustrations offer a distinctive look at the life and artistic vision of one great-grandfather. A boy recounts the essential facts of the man's life: "He was born a really long time ago." "After high school his wish was to study horticulture." The imaginative art fills in what the words leave out by ingeniously chronicling Grandpa's story through the fanciful topiaries he creates. The sinewy tree limbs in black line have a sculptural quality, while airy line art drawn in a subtle palette depicting the boy, his great-grandfather, and the general landscape of the garden allow the fantastic creations to stand out. From the formal design of boxwood mazes to fantasy-inspired hedges, Smith uses a broad range of green hues and textures to create ornamental foliage that is inventive and charming. There is harmony in the overall design yet each page surprises and delights. Discerning viewers will identify a playful homage to The Wizard of Oz. Other more quirky creations may be open to interpretation. As he narrates his great-grandfather's story, the boy strolls through the garden picking up the pieces of Grandpa's trade, a garden glove here, a watering can there—Grandpa is getting forgetful. With a powerfully charged and perfectly placed line—"But the important stuff, the garden remembers for him"—readers are treated to a dramatic double gatefold revealing the panorama of Grandpa's life depicted in the living sculptures. 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.—Caroline Ward, The Ferguson Library, Stamford, CT
Kirkus Reviews

An adoring great-grandson and a topiary garden tell the stories of one man's life.

Watering a garden, pulling a wagon, collecting dropped gardening gloves and tools, a little fellow works in an amazing topiary world made of memories. The trees tell the story of his great-grandfather's life—from birth to chicken pox to high school to military service and, later, marriage. Many of the illustrations morph with page turns: Tears from the baby become water from a hose; a mysterious conical shape becomes a cannon; a bunny near a tiny tree munches a carrot topiary. Splashes of red—berries, a hair bow, gunfire and a heart—make brief appearances in this green world, but green, like Grandpa's name, is the star of this show. When the boy reunites Grandpa Green with his missing things, readers discover that though Grandpa sometimes forgets, the garden remembers for him. 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.(Picture book. 5-9)

Bruce Handy
…an unassuming little masterpiece…the book's power lies in its rich, allusive artistry…
—The New York Times
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781596436077
  • Publisher: Roaring Brook Press
  • Publication date: 8/30/2011
  • Pages: 32
  • Sales rank: 104,696
  • Age range: 5 - 8 Years
  • Lexile: AD360L (what's this?)
  • Product dimensions: 11.30 (w) x 8.70 (h) x 0.30 (d)

Meet the Author

Lane Smith has written and illustrated a bunch of stuff, including It’s a Book; John, Paul, George & Ben and Madam President. His titles with Jon Scieszka have included the Caldecott Honor-winner The Stinky Cheese Man; The True Story of the 3 Little Pigs; Math Curse; and Science Verse. Lane's other high profile titles include Hooray for Diffendoofer Day! by Dr. Seuss and Jack Prelutsky; The Very Persistent Gappers of Frip by George Saunders; Big Plans by Bob Shea; and James and the Giant Peach by Roald Dahl. In 1996 Lane served as Conceptual Designer on the Disney film version of James and the Giant Peach. Lane also wrote and illustrated the retro, cult favorites, The Happy Hocky Family and The Happy Hocky Family Moves to the Country. Like the Hocky family, he and book designer Molly Leach live in a little town in the country.

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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4.5
( 7 )
Rating Distribution

5 Star

(3)

4 Star

(4)

3 Star

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Sort by: Showing all of 7 Customer Reviews
  • Posted October 5, 2011

    Lane Smith Does It Again!

    This is a charming tale about a grandfather who is very special in the eyes of his grandson. He has lived through a great deal of history, and now is quite a unique landscape gardener. Parents as well as children will delight in Lane Smith's beautiful drawings! Enjoy!!

    3 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 16, 2013

    SPOILER ALERT Grandpa Green by Lane Smith, is about a gra



    SPOILER ALERT

    Grandpa Green by Lane Smith, is about a grandpa who created a garden of his life. When a boy, the great grandchild of Grandpa Green, walks through the garden. He sees all of the events that happened in his great grandpa’s life. The grandpa, the main character of the story, loves to garden, as you can see in the book. He seems as if he also ia a little clumsy, because he leaves some of his things on ground. The boy is walking through his grandpa’s garden and looking at all of the shrubs. The topiary creates shapes of animals, trees, and people. Could the kid be looking at his future? This book is a picture book and is easy to read, but to really understand the book you need to be older. The book is for third graders and older, a younger kid would have troubles decoding it. For example the book is very deep, a young child would not be able to understand the deepness.

    The conflict of this book is that the grandpa is very forgetful. He leaves many of his gardening tools around the great garden. I know this because in the book it says “he used to remember everything.” This tells us two very important facts about this character. One is that he is really getting very old. Two is that he must have made the garden to remember everything. I can tell that the boy who is walking the garden must be the person who is telling the story. I can see that from when it states“They had kids, way more grandkids and a great-grandkid like me.” The word me shows that he is the narrator. This also makes it obvious that the boy is the narrator.

    The garden is very beautiful and also clever. There are so many details in the paintings. The colors that the illustrator uses are green, yellow, brown, black, red, pink, and blue. All of the different colors are hidden in the book, but if you are looking for them, they are easy to spot out. I saw myself looking at the background that explains the grandpa’s life more than at the boy. For instance, on the page where the grandpa got chicken pox, I caught myself looking at the background and not the boy that much. I looked at the background because This told me even more that the grandpa is the main character. The characters in the book are painted with ink and a brush. The garden was made with oil and digital paint. The trees are lined with pen so that it looks realistic. It seems like there are different kinds of brush and trees. There is also texture in the trees that is different. This shows that the illustrator took a lot of time on the paintings.

    Grandpa Green is a great book. This book is very easy to read but is very deep. Grandpa- -Green got me wondering. This book could be about many things. It could be about the grandpa and how he lost his memory. But this seems like it is only scratching the surface. It could be about how the great, great grandson is looking at his future. It could be this because he is picking up the grandpa’s things as he leaves them behind. Maybe he is fllfollown his footsteps. I wonder why there are so many details in the drawings. Do they mean something too? I really enjoyed this book about a garden of life.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 13, 2013

    My three year old and I love this book. Lane's simple but beaut

    My three year old and I love this book. Lane's simple but beautiful story is filled with amazing illustrations of topiaries that depict the story of a Grandfather's life. You won't be disappointed!

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  • Posted September 25, 2012

    Great book to share with kids!

    Great book to share with kids!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 23, 2012

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    Posted June 21, 2013

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 2, 2011

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