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The Resource Grandpa Green, Lane Smith

Grandpa Green, Lane Smith

Label
Grandpa Green
Title
Grandpa Green
Statement of responsibility
Lane Smith
Creator
Author
Illustrator
Subject
Genre
Language
eng
Summary
A child explores the ordinary life of his extraordinary great-grandfather, as expressed in his topiary garden
Tone
Writing style
Illustration
Award
  • ALA Notable Children's Book, 2012
  • New York Times Best Illustrated Children's Books: 2011
  • School Library Journal Best Books, 2011.
Review
  • Grades K-2 The idea of a garden as a lockbox of memories is not a new one, but rarely is it pulled off with this kind of panache. Lane drops us into a story of an unnamed person: “He was born a really long time ago, before computers or television.” Who we see, though, is a fairly modern-looking boy tending to an increasingly impressive topiary garden featuring creations sculpted to visualize each stage of the person’s life. Chicken pox are represented by berries across a humanlike shrub’s face. Going off to war is visualized by a cannon-shaped shrub with branches shooting from its muzzle. Sketched with a finely lined fairy-tale wispiness and dominated by verdant green, the illustrations are not just creative but poignant—especially after it is revealed that the boy is the great-great-grandson of the old man whose life is being described, and whose failing memories are contained in this garden (most impressively in a four-page fold-out spread). Possibly a bit disorienting for the very young, but the perfect book to help kids understand old age. -- Kraus, Daniel (Reviewed 07-01-2011) (Booklist, vol 107, number 21, p64)
  • /* Starred Review */ 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 --Caroline Ward (Reviewed August 1, 2011) (School Library Journal, vol 57, issue 8, p86)
  • /* Starred Review */ 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.) --Staff (Reviewed July 18, 2011) (Publishers Weekly, vol 258, issue 29, p)
  • 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)(Kirkus Reviews, July 1, 2011)
http://library.link/vocab/ext/novelist/bookUI
10011878
http://library.link/vocab/creatorName
Smith, Lane
Index
no index present
Literary form
fiction
http://library.link/vocab/ext/novelist/minGradeLevel
  • 0
  • 3
http://library.link/vocab/resourcePreferred
True
http://library.link/vocab/subjectName
  • Great-grandfathers
  • Gardens
Target audience
primary
Label
Grandpa Green, Lane Smith
Instantiates
Publication
Carrier category
volume
Content category
  • text
  • still image
Control code
000046268980
Dimensions
23 x 29 cm.
Edition
1st ed.
Extent
1 volume (unpaged)
Isbn
9781596436077
Isbn Type
(hbk.)
Other physical details
colour illustrations
Label
Grandpa Green, Lane Smith
Publication
Carrier category
volume
Content category
  • text
  • still image
Control code
000046268980
Dimensions
23 x 29 cm.
Edition
1st ed.
Extent
1 volume (unpaged)
Isbn
9781596436077
Isbn Type
(hbk.)
Other physical details
colour illustrations

Library Locations

    • Lionel Bowen Library and Community CentreBorrow it
      669-673 Anzac Parade, Marouba, NSW, 2035, AU
      -33.938111 151.237977
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