cover image Grandpa's Song

Grandpa's Song

Tony Johnston. Dial Books, $15.99 (32pp) ISBN 978-0-8037-0801-3

When Grandpa laughed, ``everything near him shook like a train was passing through,'' and when he sang, ``the house hopped like a cricket and the pictures jumped on the walls.'' So says the narrator of this gentle book about the relationship between a vital, fun-loving man and his grandchildren. When Grandpa begins to ``forget things he should know''--including the secret song he has taught the children--they decide to sing ``the best song in the world'' at his birthday party. In his illustrating debut, Sneed's offbeat, distinctive watercolors emphasize Grandpa's ``kettledrum'' size and zest for life. The skewed perspectives and vibrant colors portray the enormous relative as he might have appeared to the children themselves. Johnston's ( Yonder ; The Badger and the Magic Fan ) story is poignant without being sentimental, and joyously celebrates the love between grandparents and grandchildren. Ages 4-8. (May)