cover image A Special Gift for Grammy

A Special Gift for Grammy

Jean Craighead George, illus. by Steve Johnson and Lou Fancher. Harper, $17.99

When Hunter’s grandmother asks him what she should do with the heap of stones he leaves on her porch, he replies, “What everyone does with a pile of stones.” Her answer, “Of course,” is in keeping with this gentle story’s simplicity and insight. One by one, visitors find uses for the stones: the mail carrier secures a stack of letters, a neighbor decorates her pets’ graves, the gardener hammers a stake, and a boy keeps his wagon from rolling downhill. Finally only six small stones remain—each shaped like something important to Hunter—and he and Grammy turn them into a treasured present for her. One of the late George’s (The Buffalo Are Back) final works, the book gracefully celebrates the beauty and practicality of such innocuous natural objects as stones, as well as an intergenerational relationship based on mutual respect and understanding. Johnson and Fancher’s (One Frozen Lake) gauzy collage, acrylic, and pencil art fleshes out both the natural and human arcs of the story, subtly incorporating a stone motif into backgrounds, displaying brilliant fall foliage, and accentuating the bond between Hunter and Grammy. Ages 4–8. (May)