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Grandpa Green Hardcover – August 30, 2011

62 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews Review

Product Description
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.

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From School Library Journal

K-Gr 3-A child relates the story of his great-grandfather's life as it had been told to him in Smith's poignant story (Roaring Brook, 2011) about childhood on a farm, dreams and imagination, and a life filled with loving memories. Growing older sometimes means forgetting, but this tale celebrates the ability to keep memories alive in different ways. Noah Galvin narrates this simple, but poetic account of a man's life and the topiary garden that shares his story. The narration is simple, with little expression. Page-turn signals are optional. Make sure to have the book available since Smith's illustrations are what makes this Caldecott Honor book so successful.-Kelly Roth, Prospect Park School, PAα(c) Copyright 2013. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

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Product Details

  • Age Range: 5 - 9 years
  • Grade Level: Kindergarten and up
  • Lexile Measure: 360L (What's this?)
  • Hardcover: 32 pages
  • Publisher: Roaring Brook Press; First Edition edition (August 30, 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 9781596436077
  • ISBN-13: 978-1596436077
  • ASIN: 1596436077
  • Product Dimensions: 11.3 x 0.5 x 8.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 15.2 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (62 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #49,384 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Related Media

More About the Author

Lane Smith is the author and/or illustrator of several award-winning books for children. He is a two-time winner of the Caldecott Honor for Grandpa Green (2012) and The Stinky Cheese Man (1993). Four of his books have won the New York Times Best Illustrated Book Award and several of his books, including It's a Book, John, Paul George & Ben and Madam President have been New York Times and Publishers Weekly bestsellers. Mr. Smith has illustrated works by the likes of Bob Shea, Roald Dahl, Dr. Seuss, George Saunders, Judith Viorst, Florence Parry Heide, Jack Prelutsky and Eve Merriam. Some of his most popular books are with frequent collaborator, Jon Scieszka. Mr. Smith lives in Connecticut with his wife Molly Leach, an award-winning graphic designer.

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

29 of 31 people found the following review helpful By Jason Kirkfield VINE VOICE on August 3, 2011
Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
Lane Smith wrote and illustrated this cycle-of-life story. (His wife, Molly Leach, did the book design.) The book's own ten-word summary says it all: "A child explores the ordinary life of his extraordinary great-grandfather." If you allow me to indulge, I will gladly add my own slightly-longer-than-ten-word review.

Grandpa Green is not your run-of-the-mill picture book. It is a layered tale of loves lost and found and lost again but forever remembered. Like the collaborative City Dog, Country Frog, this book would be particularly appropriate for children who have lost a loved one, in this case a grandparent instead of a pet. But Grandpa Green trumps that Mo Willems/John J Muth effort, because it is imbued with a lifetime's worth of remembrances, supported by memory-anchored illustrations. As the boy recounts his great-grandfather's ultimately not so ordinary life, he progressively collects gardening tools that Grandpa Green has forgetfully left scattered throughout the garden. Enjoyably for the reader, most of these inventory items whimsically enhance the memories captured in the beautifully drawn (grown?) foliage. Some of Lane's artwork here is best appreciated on subsequent readings; I think I will let my kids find all the wonderful little details on their own.

The final page (in fact, the only page following the four-page fold-out dénouement) sees the boy creating a topiary on his own, this of his great-grandfather. Thus the cycle continues: the old man's love for horticulture--and the boy's love for the old man--both assured.

Jason Kirkfield, Vine Review, August 3, 2011
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15 of 15 people found the following review helpful By K. Francois on January 23, 2012
Format: Hardcover
The first time I read this to my rambunctious 5.5yo son I finished it and thought "huh, beautiful, but I don't feel like I got much out of it, how are children supposed to get this?" But as I went to set it to the side my son stopped me, he'd noticed something in the book and wanted to go through and read it again. Sure enough, another layer emerged at the second reading, and the third reading that night.

This has become one of our bedtime favorites. It's a book that gets us to slow down and talk about what we're reading (a slowness that pairs well with the topiary images I think). I'm thankful that the text is brief because it allows us to read it multiple times in an evening and fill in the spaces with our world observations. (and it really is beautifully illustrated.)
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Brimful Curiosities on December 22, 2011
Format: Hardcover
Grandpa Green captures important life moments in his garden, a horticultural memoir of sorts showing events and people from his past preserved in topiary. His great-grandson explores the lush trip down memory lane, stopping by all the carefully shaped trees and bushes and picking up the tools his great-grandfather has dropped along the way. A crying baby trimmed from a bush symbolizes Grandpa Green's birth, a carrot shaped topiary reminds everyone of his farming background, and a cannon and parachuters made out of plants represent his wartime experiences. "He used to remember everything. Now he's pretty old." Grandpa Green shapes his story plant by plant with his clippers, his most significant memories living on, flourishing and serving as a reminder, while adding new ones as he is assisted by his great-grandchild. Grandpa Green's legacy stands, ready to be passed down generation after generation.

Grandpa Green is the kind of book that affects people, young and old, in different ways. It's a poignant and interesting exploration of a life, and though Smith describes it as a fictional story, it seems deeply personal. Those with an elderly friend or family member or those with loved ones diagnosed with Alzheimer's disease will find it particularly touching. And even though the book tackles serious topics, there are plenty of touches of humor and playfulness that you'd expect from Smith like bunnies eating a topiary carrot and a reference to the Wizard of Oz. Both my daughter and son love to discuss all the detailed images found in the ink line drawings and painted foliage.

Minimal text accompanies the amazing illustrations. The story is told by the great-grandson as he wanders through the garden, connecting young readers to the story.
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9 of 11 people found the following review helpful By VReviews VINE VOICE on July 31, 2011
Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
Multi-award winning author and illustrator Lane Smith has hit another one out-of-the-park, or in this case garden. From the very first page, young and old alike will be drawn into the whimsical garden of `Grandpa Green". Told through the eyes of Grandpa Green's great-grandkid, each page tells a piece of Grandpa Green's life via the visual world of his topiary trees, and a few perfectly captured words.

The illustrations are done in a subtle palette of green with light touches of yellow, blue and grey, reminiscent of Margaret Bloy Graham's classic illustrations in Gene Zion's `Harry the Dirty Dog' series. Each page provides a biographic fact from Grandpa Green's life; but what makes this tale so delightful is the symbolic topiary trees. Various perspectives are employed to challenge the visual reader to first see the picture and then understand the symbolic meaning of each topiary. Humor is not only expressed within the trees; but also through the boys attempts to help in the garden.

Teachers will delight in the page by page opportunities for instruction across content areas. From idioms, time-order words, summarizing skills, time & place discussions; to science (plants & animals), health (memory, aging) and social science (family, community, WWII) lessons, `Grandpa Green' is packed full of ideas for exploration in the classroom. This is an outstanding book for elementary age kids; but importantly this is also a book for every adult who longs to remember the magic from their past, and the continuity of their life.

A Harry the Dirty Dog Treasury: Three Stories
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