Not all grandmas are cuddly and sweet—Nelson’s unnamed narrator thinks that her African-American great-grandmother, Nell, can be “scary” and “stern.” But despite Nell’s disgruntled expressions and chilly demeanor, her great-granddaughter has abundant fascination and tenderness for her glamorous relative, who shows her how to apply lipstick and even lets her taste the mysterious brown liquid she sips from a tumbler all day (“Heart medicine,” Nells tells her. “Broken heart”). Nell’s personality shines through Zunon’s (Poems in the Attic) collage work; an assemblage of civil rights–era photographs and other mementos provide insight into Nell’s past, while abstracted watercolor images depict her distant memories. Nelson (The Book Itch) sensitively conveys the complexity of intergenerational relationships while celebrating a grandmother whose individuality hasn’t diminished one iota over the years. Ages 4–8. Author’s agent: Tracey Adams, Adams Literary. Illustrator’s agent: Lori Nowicki, Painted Words. (Feb.)
Reviewed on: 11/23/2015 Release date: 02/01/2016 Genre: Children's
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