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28 of 30 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A layered tale of loves lost and found and lost again but forever remembered
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...
Published on August 3, 2011 by Jason Kirkfield

versus
13 of 16 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Beautiful illustrations, story is lacking
Yes, this is a children's picture book with beautiful illustrations. It tells Granpa Green's story in topiaries throughout the book. It's very clever and something I've never seen before. However, it is a children's picture book, and the target audience is preschool children. My 4 1/2 year old son got rather bored with the book because there really is not much in the...
Published on November 17, 2011 by Alaskan Realtor


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28 of 30 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A layered tale of loves lost and found and lost again but forever remembered, August 3, 2011
This review is from: Grandpa Green (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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14 of 14 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars sublime, January 23, 2012
By 
K. Francois (Denver, CO United States) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Grandpa Green (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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13 of 16 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Beautiful illustrations, story is lacking, November 17, 2011
This review is from: Grandpa Green (Hardcover)
Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
Yes, this is a children's picture book with beautiful illustrations. It tells Granpa Green's story in topiaries throughout the book. It's very clever and something I've never seen before. However, it is a children's picture book, and the target audience is preschool children. My 4 1/2 year old son got rather bored with the book because there really is not much in the way of captivating text. My 20 month old daughter liked the pictures, but there are other books she goes to long before she'll pick this one up.

I think this is a sweet, old fashioned book that appeals more to parents than to young children. I also have a bit of an issue with the book talking about Grandpa going to war, and showing a topiary cannon. My son asked what that was, and at 4 1/2 I don't feel comfortable discussing war with him yet. Perhaps if he were 6 or 7, but this book doesn't have the story line to captivate children of that age.

Bottom Line: This is a beautiful coffee table book, but not something young children will love.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Gracefully tackles the subjects of aging and intergenerational relationships, December 22, 2011
This review is from: Grandpa Green (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. It's not easy bringing up the topic of aging with children. My own children are lucky enough to see two of their great-grandparents regularly and while they love them dearly, it's hard for them to see past the wrinkles and gray hair, to understand the past and see how it intertwines with their own life. It's amazing how books like this help bridge the gap and give kids reasons to search out their own family stories.

Lane Smith's new picture book, Grandpa Green, gracefully tackles the subjects of aging and intergenerational relationships. With unusually lush, green illustrations, it's simply a beautiful book. Read the book one-on-one together with a child, linger over the fine illustrations, and encourage the child to ask questions about his/her own great-grandparents, grandparents and family history. And, if you're like me, you'll find yourself profoundly touched as well, perhaps even a little watery-eyed.
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9 of 11 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Symbolic Connections of a Life, July 31, 2011
This review is from: Grandpa Green (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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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Little Boy Finds Life's Meaning in a Garden of Memories, July 31, 2011
This review is from: Grandpa Green (Hardcover)
Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
When I finished my first reading of Lane Smith's Grandpa Green, I immediately thought of Shel Silverstein's classic, The Giving Tree (1964). As with The Giving Tree, Grandpa Green is a book to be enjoyed as much by the adult reading it as the child hearing it.

It is the story of a boy who visits a garden that was created and cared for by his great-grandfather. As he walks through the garden, the beautifully trimmed bushes create memories of the past. Through those memories, love of the past and love of life are awakened in the boy.

I'm not sure that a small child would understand the word "horticulture," or an adult's attempt at explaining it. Nor do I think a small child would understand what a "world war" was, or what is meant by "he went to a world war." But those facts do not distract from the beauty of this book. In fact, they add to it, for this is a book, and a story, that will "grow up" with the child.

When my children were little, I often sat and talk about a book as I turned the pages and told the story in my own words. The pictures were important. As I turned the pages, I would point to things and ask questions. How many times can a parent read a book like Goodnight Moon (1947)? Can you count them? As I turned the pages of Goodnight Moon, I would ask "Can you find the mouse?" I can imagine doing the same with Grandpa Green: "Can you find the little boy?" The illustrations, the use of green with touches of red, and the black ink drawings of the boy and his great-grandfather, are beautifully done. Ending the book with a fold out gives both the reader and the listener an opportunity to say "Wow!"

When I say this is a book that will grow up with the child, I am referring to the meaning of the story. I do believe that Grandpa Green will become a classic, a story and a book that will be remembered, perhaps read and reread as one grows older. It is a book like The Giving Tree, Goodnight Moon, The Cat in the Hat (1957), and so many others that we enjoyed listening to as children, and enjoy even more as we read them to our children and grandchildren.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Beautiful, but of little interest to the kids, May 15, 2012
This review is from: Grandpa Green (Hardcover)
Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
I love the artwork in this book. The shrubs take amazing forms and blend perfectly to tell the story. And I, as an adult, love the story. We own a lot of children's books, read several daily, and I would like to see this in the "rotation" more often.

But, the book just doesn't seem to hold the kids' interest. Even at almost 5, the oldest isn't too impressed. I could see this being a special book for grandfathers to share with their grandkids, especially if they have interesting stories to tell about their childhood or early adult life.

Overall, I recommend this book. I just wish that my own young readers could get more excited about it. With its beautiful pictures, however, this book would make a wonderful gift.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Awesome childrens book, August 5, 2011
This review is from: Grandpa Green (Hardcover)
Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
What a sweet story with wonderful illustrations! I loved it and my 6 and 3 year olds loved it too. The story shows a boy who explores his great-grandpas garden and life with illustrations that are so detailed and clever. Great gift idea!
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Though this book has lots of adult appeal, many of the illustrations morph with page turns, August 3, 2011
By 
Didaskalex "Eusebius Alexandrinus" (Kellia on Calvary, Carolinas, USA) - See all my reviews
(VINE VOICE)   
This review is from: Grandpa Green (Hardcover)
Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
****
"If an artist can paint a picture of a landscape -- art mimicking nature -- then why not a sculptor creating a landscape of a work of art -- nature mimicking art? The topiary garden is both a work of art and a work of nature. It plays upon the relationships between nature, art and life." -- Sculptor James Mason [...]
*

I ordered this book from the Amazon Vine(tm) Program, to read, and review before deciding if suitable for my four years old joyful grandson. I found Grandpa Green left at my doorstep, I read the story, while Grandpa Green was seemingly clipping the foliage and twigs of book's trees, and shrubs. Green's drawings initiates a grim and suggestive world of 19th century Georges Seurat; "Un Dimanche a la Grande Jatte,' which marked the meeting of naturalism with the psycho-structural focus, contrasting the natural world with unpleasant artificiality. What is this book about; exploring aging, fading memory, or just a botanical biography, or a topiary flashback? The topiary garden is both a work of art and a work of nature.

In just few minutes, I started to acquire a mixed feeling of dark green discomfort, diffused by its hypnotic charm, but my experience extended to the echo of story's few words. That was the shortest account of someone's life, even with fuzzy details that come normally with aging grannies. I have never experienced such entangled feelings for a long time. A biography, I thought, is rather a detailed description, more than a mere list of milestones about the life of any Grandpa, Green or Blue, on his work, education, relationships, and most importantly as related to his grandchildren. Grandpa Green self portrayal, being the subject's own experience of life events, has been crushed and sadly reduced.

So I anticipated that when my dear young Oliver starts to hear the story it is almost about to come to a close, a relief for the puzzled parents. And since it is written in very plain English, "He was born a really long time ago, before computers or cell phones or television. He grew up on a farm with pigs and corn ..." This may tempt six years old, big brother Noah, to exercise his reading skills to narrate the rarely encountered words within the few lines! But wait a while, that is not going to be the case with this abstract biography. Both kids leaning on the carpet, to interpret what a gifted art could experiment in simple green!"

This is an inviting book, on advanced information retrieval exercise about Grandpa reduced memories of a farm boy, a kid who got chickenpox in fourth grade! But the 'important stuff', that the garden remembers for him will stay vivid, like an elephant's memory, for ever. I then asked myself, if I also needed an urgent (RAM) random access memory extension. What about a graphics card upgrade, with a 3 D boost of Seurat's Pointillist technique? "Many of the illustrations morph with page turns: ... Though this book has lots of adult appeal, it will also be a wonderful bridge to exploring family history with the very young." --Kirkus Review
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Heartwarming and a bit sad, May 10, 2012
By 
Jish M. (San Francisco Bay Area, CA) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Grandpa Green (Hardcover)
Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
First, the illustrations in the book are absolutely wonderful. My kids really enjoyed looking at each picture in great detail, particularly the large fold-out illustration.

Second, the story is a bit sad for those who may have loved and lost a grandparent.

Overall, a great story accompanied by great pictures!
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Grandpa Green
Grandpa Green by Lane Smith (Hardcover - August 30, 2011)
$16.99 $12.83
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