Lisa Rowe Fraustino, THE HICKORY CHAIR Lisa Rowe F. , $15.95 (32pp) ISBN 978-0-590-52248-9

Fraustino's (Ash) affecting story introduces a boy who has been blind since birth, yet, as his beloved Gran confides, "You got blind sight." Louis uses his other senses to savor the presence of this loving woman, who "had a good alive smell—lilacs, with a whiff of bleach" and "gave salty kisses when we sat on Gramps's old army trunk in the attic and listened to the wind sing on the roof." And Louis "loved her molasses voice" as Gran read to him from the hickory chair carved by Gramps. Andrews's (I Am the Darker Brother) oil paintings capture quiet moments shared between grandmother and grandson as well as active exchanges. Touches of fabric swatches, such as Gran's blue petticoat hemline or linen used for the wall of the attic, create a homey atmosphere. When Gran dies and her will divulges that she has hidden notes "for each of my favorite people in one of my favorite things," the boy relies on his keen insight into his grandmother to find many of the notes. But none belong to him. When it comes time to sell her things, Louis's parents tell him to "just pick out something you want... Anything at all," and he chooses the hickory chair. Years pass before Louis finally finds the long-missing missive from Gran, which brings this gentle tale to a satisfying close. Fraustino's uncommonly visual prose, in concert with Andrews's spare yet emotion-filled pictures, effectively conveys the lasting bond across generations. Ages 4-8. (Feb.)