cover image Once Upon a Time and Grandma

Once Upon a Time and Grandma

Lenore Blegvad. Margaret K. McElderry Books, $14.95 (1pp) ISBN 978-0-689-50548-5

Emma and Luke have a hard time believing Grandma when she tells them that once upon a time, ``she was a little girl named Norrie.'' Grandma brings her childhood to life, describing the exotic (the organ grinder's monkey, the ice man, the milkman whose horse she fed with sugar, ``right out of her hand!'') as well as the familiar (playing hopscotch, tap-dancing in the alley, feeling lonely in the middle of the night). But Emma and Luke are convinced only when Grandma performs a tap dance. Blegvad's confidence in the power of small, episodic statements informs not just her story but her art. Oval vignettes show details mentioned in the text, like the lumps of sugar in Norrie's palm, or fragments from scenes, like Norrie being read a story by her father. What Blegvad's illustrations lack in complexity, they make up in nostalgic feeling. While hers is not a fresh theme, it is endowed with personal significance and easily shared emotions. Ages 4-8. (Mar.)