Gr 1-3-In a story that will generate more regional than widespread interest, Stilz spins the tale of a precocious youngster's trip to her grandmother's house in Montana. Along the way, Poppy questions her mother about faces in her family photo album. The child is especially fascinated by her great-grandmother May, whom she resembles. Conveniently, the trip includes a stop at May's old home and a visit to a buffalo ranch (where they feed descendants of Grandma Buffalo, whom Grandma May fed long ago). While most children would be thrilled to feed a large, hairy buffalo or even camp, fish, and pick apples on an adventurous journey to a relative's house, Poppy's persistent absorption with her family tree does not ring true for a child of her apparent age. Clutching her teddy bear, this perhaps six-or seven-year-old child awkwardly recites phrases such as, ``The roots of my family grow deep in time, just like Grandma Buffalo's.'' Unlike Gloria Houston's My Great-Aunt Arizona (HarperCollins, 1992) or Jane Yolen's Grandad Bill's Song (Philomel, 1994), Grandma Buffalo is lacking in credibility and characterization. Bergum's illustrations are colorful and warm and a few-such as the double-page spread of Poppy touching the buffalo through a wire fence-are quite charming. Montana residents will find this a nice addition to local collections, but other young listeners may find it bland.-Jennifer Fleming, Boston Public Library
Poppy and her mother are driving through Montana to visit Poppy's grandmother. As they cross the places where her ancestors lived, Poppy learns about family members who came before her. Most intriguing is her great-grandmother May. When May was a little girl, she caught fish, planted an apple tree, and fed wild buffalo. Poppy gets a chance to do these things as well, and in doing them, she learns that all living things have continuity. By planting a twig from May's apple tree, Poppy continues her family's story in her own time, providing comfort and reassurance that family ties extend through the eras. The watercolor paintings in golds, greens, and oranges have a sunlit warmth. Parents and teachers will find this a useful introduction to the concept of the family tree.