Thomas's good-natured, pleasantly traditional tale introduces Gramma, who, wearing a wide-brimmed straw hat and spectacles perched on her nose, is, inarguably, ``correct.'' In fact, most people--and things--don't dare argue with this strong-willed woman: not Dorothea, when told not to snatch grapes ``willy nilly'' but to use the silver grape-snips instead; and not the plants in Gramma's garden, who are instructed in growing properly rather than ``lollygagging.'' At least most of the plants obey orders--all but the green beans. But when Gramma goes off on a trip, leaving Dorothea and her father in charge, the beans begin to grow with abandon, an occurrence which even Gramma finds cause for celebration on her return. Redenbaugh's pastel-hued drawings shed a soft, affectionate light on Gramma--and her near-perfectly ordered universe. An admirable first effort for both author and illustrator. Ages 3-8. (July)
School Library Journal
K-Gr 3-- Dorothea's strict, demanding grandmother insists on doing things in the ``correct'' way. She has countless little fetishes and, as running a tight ship is important to her, she becomes irate when her beans do not grow to her satisfaction. When she returns from a week long trip, she discovers that the vegetables, as if to spite her, have flourished in her absence. This stubborn, controlling woman could make more than beans wither; she's neither endearing nor even particularly interesting. Dorothea and her father are poorly developed, and readers won't relate to them. The plot is thin--a bit of a doodle with no clear direction. Illustrations depict cozy indoor and outdoor settings rendered with pencils in soft colors on textured paper. The people don't come off as individuals so it is difficult to warm up to them. The drawings illustrate the story's action, but do little to add to or expand it. --Alexandra Marris, Rochester Public Library, NY
Gramma loves gardening. She is also very strict, and with her angular chin, skinny arms, and longish, bespectacled nose, she looks it. Grandchild Dorothea is always careful to obey, but the green beans (Gramma's favorite; Dorothea prefers peas) that Gramma's planted aren't cooperative in the least. They absolutely refuse to grow, despite Gramma's stern words and lavish attention. Then Gramma goes away, leaving Dorothea in charge. When Gramma returns, she discovers a flourishing crop, which leads her to believe that sometimes a little less attention may not be so bad. Redenbaugh's meticulous, soft-hued color-pencil drawings are equally effective in conveying a strict but close-knit family and the book's humorous finale in which Gramma takes to heart the lesson she learned from her garden and Dorothea suddenly develops an overwhelming preference for beans.