cover image When Grandma Almost Fell Off the Mountain & Other Stories

When Grandma Almost Fell Off the Mountain & Other Stories

Barbara Ann Porte. Orchard Books (NY), $14.95 (1pp) ISBN 978-0-531-05965-4

A yarn-spinning grandmother entertains her two granddaughters with tales of a long-ago, eventful journey to Florida (``that was some trip, believe me'') in a vintage La Salle motorcar complete with running boards. Rambling and twisting along the roads of memory, Grandma's garrulous telling cruises by mirthful scenes from the days before superhighways: father is caught picking cotton on the roadside, crossing pigs cause delays, a stop for ice cream occasions an accidental dip in a lily pond and the entire family teeters on the edge of a treacherous mountain road. Chambliss's pencil and watercolor illustrations boost the comedy of a text that occasionally falls shy of its rambunctious potential--a skillful reading aloud will humorously accentuate much of this grandmother's true-to-type chatter. Porte attempts to capture the spontaneity of family storytelling, but the real value of her book may lie in its potential for encouraging genealogical reminiscences among nostalgic grownups. Ages 4-7. (Mar.)