cover image The Growing Story

The Growing Story

Ruth Krauss, , illus. by Helen Oxenbury. . HarperCollins, $16.99 (40pp) ISBN 978-0-06-024716-4

No matter the day and age of parenting, one theme that transcends time is a child’s rush to grow up. In this evergreen tale, first published by Krauss in 1947, a boy is eager to keep up with the world around him, a place that seems to change at a rate faster than he can fathom. Throughout the story, he continues to ask if his mother if he, too, will grow like his puppy and barnyard chicks, their measurable growth marking the passage of time for him. Oxenbury’s (Alice Through the Looking-Glass ) thoughtful, detailed illustrations capture the beauty that comes with the start of a new season, from the trees bursting with blossoms to the darkened skies of autumn days presaging winter’s approach. Krauss’s short, simple sentences move the action along at a rapid clip (“The days grew longer. The nights grew shorter. The grass grew faster. The flowers grew higher”), and before long, the story comes full circle. The pivotal moment occurs when the boy unpacks his warm clothes in preparation for the onset of colder weather and sees for himself that he has indeed grown. His unabashed joy at his maturation is cause for celebration, as evidenced by his joyous cartwheel, accompanied by the phrase “I’m growing too,” bringing the story to a close. Parents are sure to find this heartwarming edition familiar and bittersweet. Ages 4-8. (June)