A garden of memories
2012 Caldecott Honor
Whether he’s humorously reminding readers of the power of the printed word in It’s a Book or taking a nonconformist look at the founding fathers in John, Paul, George & Ben, author-illustrator Lane Smith never ceases to amaze. His latest endeavor, Grandpa Green, offers a unique perspective on family relationships that will resonate with both children and adults alike.
A young boy walks through a topiary garden and narrates the life of his great-grandfather, who wanted to study horticulture but went to fight a world war instead, met his future wife in a café and returned to have a large family. While the boy, rendered in ink, blends into the background, his great-grandfather’s lush and meticulously sculpted bushes and hedges, created with watercolor, oil paint and digital paint, tell the real story.
It’s not long before readers notice that the boy is gathering gloves, eyeglasses and other items misplaced by his great-grandfather along the path. Though his great-grandfather is now forgetful, the boy knows that as long as the garden flourishes, his memories will always be preserved. To sum up the boy’s sentiments, a double-page spread shows the old man’s handiwork in all its glory. Even more surprises hidden in the illustrations await observant readers, who will find Grandpa Green an unforgettable blend of story and art.