From School Library Journal
Grade 1–4—In this picture-book remembrance in verse, a young girl describes life with her German immigrant grandfather on his farm. Through seasonal activities—planting, harvesting, butchering—the old man teaches her the lessons of life. Years later, in the "final season," the girl feels sorrow at the man's death and learns one last lesson from him. Life is filled with love and joy, and also pain, but hard work, supportive family, and faith in God will sustain her. The story is divided into six sections. Grandpa's Enkelin
(German for granddaughter) is a child in the first four, a college student when Grandpa dies in the fifth, and grown when she speaks in the last. The free verse flows smoothly as it describes a bygone era when farm work was done by horses, not tractors. It describes the activities and weaves in lines from Grandpa's song, Du, du liegst mir im Herzen
. The old-fashioned times are reflected in the artwork, with bearded men, women in long skirts, and horse-drawn wagons. The elongated, sloped-shouldered people have downcast eyes that present the humble, stoic traits suggested in the verse. The paintings mix the style of P. Buckley Moss's Amish works with Depression-era regional art. This sentimental title will have a faithful, but limited, audience.—Carolyn Janssen, Public Library of Cincinnati and Hamilton County, OH
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This fictional memoir portrays the yearly cycle of life on a farm as experienced by a little girl and explains how knowledge of that cycle enables her, much later, to accept with grace the death of her beloved grandfather. Grandpa always called her Enkelin, which (the jacket copy explains) is German for granddaughter. Recalling a year as a young girl growing up on her grandparents’ farm long ago, she vividly relates memories of her chores and of experiences such as getting lost in the cornfield. The poetic text circles through the four seasons of her childhood before taking up the story when, as a college student, she returns to the farm for her grandfather’s funeral, and as an adult reflects on what her Grandpa has taught her that she only now understands. The writing is bright with sensory details, and the impressive, large-scale paintings illustrate the story with clarity, economy, and certainty of purpose. A quiet but rewarding picture book. Grades 1-3. --Carolyn Phelan