Genre: Family / Gardening / Art / History
Year Published: 2011
Year Read: 2014
Publisher: Roaring Brook Press
Content Rating: Ages 5+ (Nothing Objectionable)
“He was a boy on a farm and a kid with chickenpox. He was a soldier and a husband, and a gardener, and most of all, an artist.”
I have read many books that were either illustrated or written by Lane Smith and some of my favorite books that were both illustrated and written by Lane Smith was “It’s a Book.” But, I had discovered this new book by Lane Smith called “Grandpa Green,” which was a Caldecott Honor book and it was seriously one of Lane Smith’s most heartwarming books ever written!
The book starts off with a young boy narrating the life of his grandfather and how his grandfather had started out as a child growing up on the farm to fighting in the war to eventually becoming a loving husband. The grandfather’s life story is told through the bush sculptures that he creates in his garden in order to help him remember his past life.
Now, I will admit that even though I did not understand this book when I first read it, when I read this book the second time around, I ended up really loving the emotional tone of the story! Lane Smith has truly crafted a heartwarming story about a boy’s grandfather’s life being told through his gardening work as the grandfather makes sculptures of people and places from his past life through the garden shrubbery. I also loved the way that Lane Smith narrated the life of the boy’s grandfather as the grandfather went through so many events during his life such as fighting in a war and then getting married as it made the story truly uplifting and passionate to read and I truly could relate to the grandfather as he went through so many events in his life that made his life truly inspiring to his great-grandson. Lane Smith’s artwork is truly gorgeous as the garden shrubbery are the ones that are mostly colored in green, which really stands out from the rest of the illustration’s more lighter tones and I loved the way that the garden shrubberies would take various shapes such as people and airplanes as the boy is describing his grandfather’s life to the readers.
Overall, “Grandpa Green” is a truly inspirational and beautiful book that children who have grandparents that have accomplished many great things in their lives should definitely check out this book! I would recommend this book to children ages five and up since some children might be a bit confused about what the story is all about when they read this book the first time around.