Nana has wrinkles—a lot of them—and they make her face look as if she’s not quite happy. This concerns her granddaughter, who wants Nana to enjoy her birthday party. Ciraolo’s silk screen–like images show her asking Nana about each line. Nana isn’t offended, and explains that they’re where she keeps all her memories. Her granddaughter points to the crow’s feet at the edges of her eyes. “This is the best picnic I have ever had by the seaside,” says Nana. The contrast between the expectations set up by Nana’s answers and what the page turns reveal will elicit smiles. The picnic is no idyllic outing: a storm is coming, and the wind is so strong that a young Nana and her friends huddle under their towels, giggling. “The night I met your grandpa” shows the couple on a wild roller coaster ride. Grandpa looks happy; Nana, not so much. The revelation that older relatives were once young is always a surprise for younger people, and Ciraolo (Whatever Happened to My Sister?) presents Nana’s story in a way that’s affectionate and never patronizing. Ages 5–up. (Oct.)
A sweet intergenerational tête-à-tête.
[…] The art and the pace sell the journey. Nana and the girl talk in bright close-ups; the flashbacks are wordless full spreads, encouraging us to supply the missing information.
—The New York Times
This airy picture book is calibrated to appeal to doting grandparents or, for that matter, to any adult whose face has acquired a bit of wear and tear.
—The Wall Street Journal
The revelation that older relatives were once young is always a surprise for younger people, and Ciraolo (Whatever Happened to My Sister?) presents Nana’s story in a way that’s affectionate and never patronizing.
Nana uses the opportunity to explain that every wrinkle is attached to a memory, and the story swishes back in time to show the source of each one. Her crow’s feet were caused by laughing too hard on a seaside picnic, and the creases on her forehead are the result of a first date at an amusement park. As the girl sits as a rapt audience for her Nana’s storytelling, she learns that so-called imperfections are the result of life lived.
—The Globe and Mail
The intimate, present-day moments with granddaughter and grandmother involve close-ups of the girl, pointing to her Nana’s face on white, uncluttered spreads, which alternate with the colorful, wordless, full-bleed spreads that depict the past. Ciraolo, born in Sardinia, captures body language well, just as she did in last year’s Whatever Happened to My Sister?, another tender story of familial bonds.
A realistic and charming family story shared between a Nana and her grandchild. [...] This is a perfect book that focuses on a grandparent’s graceful aging process and allows bonding and sharing with younger family members.
—Youth Services Book Review
I love this book for its sweetness and depth. There’s the story you’re reading and another more subtle and open-ended story conveyed through the illustrations [...] You can just feel the love put into the book—one reason it’s a favorite of mine to share with others.
Each line on granny's face tell a unique story in this playful and endearing exchange between grandmother and granddaughter. The illustrations are both vibrant and soft in this book with multi generational appeal.
—The Wandering Bookseller
Beautifully conceived and heartwarming, this book ups my admiration for Simona Ciraolo's talent.
—Sal's Fiction Addiction
This is a sweet book that addresses old age with a cute explanation (non scientific, sure, but oh-so-sweet) about wrinkles. Simona has a real knack for being able to tackle tough subjects in picture books, and she does it in such a pleasant and endearing way.
—Book Nerd Mommy
PreS-Gr 2—Simple watercolor and pencil cartoons chronicle a young girl's visit with her grandmother on the elderly woman's birthday. "I know she's happy because she likes it when we are all together. But sometimes it looks like she might also be a bit sad, and a little surprised, and slightly worried, all at the same time." When the child asks if Nana minds the lines on her face, the woman declares that it is in these lines that she keeps her memories. Each wrinkle is examined and explained, from a furrow that came from solving a mystery to crow's-feet from a seaside picnic to, finally, laugh lines recording the birth of the questioner. Each stated memory is followed by a full-bleed spread depicting the scene from the woman's past in a bright palette. VERDICT A sweet, quiet intergenerational story and exploration of family, best shared one-on-one.—Gay Lynn Van Vleck, Henrico County Library, Glen Allen, VA
Aug. 30, 2016
A skeptical child puts her grandmother’s claim that wrinkles are where memories are stored to the test.“What do you keep here, Nana?” “And what about this?” Each of Nana’s general answers gets fuller explication in a wordless following scene, so that a flashback to a delighted child coming upon a mama cat with new kittens follows “Here is that morning, early one spring, when I solved a great mystery.” Likewise, “Oh, those are from the night I met your grandpa” precedes a scene of screaming roller-coaster riders. “Nana! Do you remember the first time you saw me?” “Yes! That is right here,” she says, pointing to her smile. In lightly brushed watercolors Ciraolo sets this comfortably intimate conversation amid flowers and foliage on a sun porch before closing with a festive family gathering with party hats and balloons in celebration of the benevolently smiling—comfortably wrinkled—elder’s birthday. The figures in the illustrations have light but varied skin tones. Nana shares one sad memory but no tragic ones, so overall, the rich if sketchy life’s story that emerges from the exchange keeps its happy, positive tone throughout. A sweet intergenerational tête-à-tête. (Picture book. 5-8)