Grandpa Green

Does anybody have a tissue?  Think I have something in my eye.  Or maybe it's just really dry in here. 

*OK, so I didn't actually cry or reach that precipice where you find yourself trying to hold back the waterworks, but I wasn't more than a few steps away from it either  
*A lot of people think I am an ALA hater, so let me be clear just how right they were in selecting this as one of the best illustrated books of 2011
*While I am not sure which way Lane Smith was trying to go with the first page discussing his great-grandfather's fading memory (are the holes in the bush equivalent to senility gaps or is the whole unshaped piece of flora a metaphlora for his no longer fully formed memory or both or none of the above), it is a very inventive way of demonstrating to a child why his eldest relatives might not be all there anymore

*The book's greatest strength is also it's main downfall -- as beautiful as the pictures are to look at, do you really want to reach for the sentimental choice more than a few times a year (it would be too much for me) 
*I totally get why the penultimate two pages fold out (to reveal a kind of wrapping-it-all-up image), but they have already frayed on the edition I am holding -- that doesn't bode well for posterity 
*The only page that required me to suspend gravitational and horticultural reality was the one on warfare, which was a shame because I was so impressed with the care that Smith took to make you feel like this garden could exist somewhere in the world

As I stated earlier this week, Grandpa Green should have won the Caldecott this year.  Quite simply, it's more original, more pleasing to the eye, and happens to be a way better story than the winner to boot.  With that out front-and-center, some of you will probably be flabbergasted that it doesn't get my rubber stamp Buy.  Well, my friends, we live by a different standard over here at KBR.  We don't just consider the artwork or the writing or the awards it has racked up.  We also bear in mind how re-readable something is (probably my #1 litmus test), 
how many greenbacks a purchase will set you back, and about ten other things that apply to specific categories.  On that scale, I can only go as high as a STRONG Borrow, although I will admit that it could be a Buy for people who can't get enough of the sappy stuff.    

Buy / BORROW / Donate / Destroy

1 comment:

26LetterImagination said...

I loved Grandpa Green! My favorite part was the line that said Grandpa and Grandma "never argue, at least to hear [grandpa] tell it." I only gave it four out of five stars, but the illustrations were wonderful!