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Henry and Mudge and the Great Grandpas (Henry & Mudge) Hardcover – June 1, 2005
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From School Library Journal
Kindergarten-Grade 3–Fans will welcome another installment in this popular series. In this adventure, Henry and his lovable dog visit Great-Grandpa Bill in the house where he lives with lots of other grandpas. The two friends go exploring and come across a pond that looks like a great place for a swim. Knowing that they should not go in the water alone, they return to the house in search of a buddy. All of the grandpas head off to the pond with the boy and the dog, resting on Mudge whenever they get tired. They all have a great time swimming in their skivvies and telling old stories. Brief chapters with entertaining watercolor illustrations make this book an excellent choice for beginning readers ready to make the transition to short chapter books.–Melinda Piehler, Sawgrass Elementary School, Sunrise, FL
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
*Starred Review* K-Gr. 2. This Ready-to-Read title about Henry and his big dog Mudge is even more joyful than the others in the popular series. In four simple chapters The Great Grandpas tells how Henry and Mudge visit Great Grandpa Bill at his house with a lot of other very old grandpas. Henry brings gifts--food, games, puzzles--and while the grandpas play checkers and cards, Henry and Mudge run in the nearby woods and discover a pool. Then everyone wants to swim, and Henry, his dad, and the grandpas strip to their underwear and have a great time in the water. Mudge is there, too. In fact, when the grandpas get tired, they lean on Mudge, who doesn't mind at all. Rylant manages to make things idyllic without being soppy, partly because the mischief is both cozy and farcical; and Stevenson's clear, active line-and-watercolor pictures individualize the grandpas and show their affectionate bond with Henry and the huge, slobbering mutt. A sweet story, perfect for children who are capable of reading simple stories on their own. Hazel Rochman
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved
Top customer reviews
You may not know it, but Henry's Great-Grandpa Bill lives not too far from our heroes Henry (boy) and Mudge (dog). He lives in a beautiful house with a bunch of old men, much like himself, and every once in a while Henry's family visits them. They play games and bring the house of Grandpas butterscotch, and books, and crossword puzzles. As you can imagine, they are very popular. One day, as his parents and the Grandpas stay indoors, Henry and Mudge discover a beautiful pond behind the house. Immediately the two return to the house and invite everyone out for some fine swimming. This is done, in lieu of bathing suits, in what the Grandpas call their "skivvies". Mom, as you might imagine, quite sensibly opts this one out. Then everyone comes home to spaghetti and meatballs and some fine fine sitting in rocking chairs on the porch at night.
I once worked in a library that had a young boy who attended a school for autistic children. He didn't care for much on my shelves, but the one series that earned his love and always had him coming back for more was "Henry and Mudge". The kid couldn't get enough of the books. I don't know if it was the doggish aspects of the story, the simplicity of the art, or the comfortable feeling a person gets from reading one of their adventures, but this boy was Mudge-crazy. In this particular outing, Rylant offers some gentle repetition that works in tandem with the plot. The Grandpas, for all their charms, tire easily. Often Mudge acts as a kind of support or pillow for those Grandpas. And the old fellow resting on the faithful dog is never the same Grandpa twice. Nice that. Together Rylant and illustrator Sucie Stevenson have conjured up a retirement home that all of us would be lucky to end up in. Beautiful scenery. Woods. Rocking chairs. Croquet. Heck, I'm in my twenties and I'm half tempted to find this house and settle down for the rest of my golden years. Who wouldn't want to? It sounds delish.
The plot is sweet and offers enough new and familiar words to help child readers everywhere. Especial kudos also to Rylant for making it very clear that Henry is not allowed to swim all by himself without a grown-up present. Aside from the "Gus and Grandpa" series by Claudia Mills, I don't think anyone's going to find a better early reader book for grandparents and kids to read together with as much mutual satisfaction. The book bears more than a passing resemblance to Mem Fox's classic, "Wilfrid Gordon McDonald Partridge", of course. In both books a young boy befriends an old folks home full of caring elderly adults. A comparison between the two isn't exactly fair, though. "Wilfrid" has layers and layers of depth and beauty to it, while "Great Grandpas" is just a wonderful romp with wonderful companions. All in all, this is just a great addition to an already strong series and one that more and more adults are coming to discover. Fun and fine and frolicsome.