cover image The Year with Grandma Moses

The Year with Grandma Moses

W. Nikola-Lisa. Henry Holt & Company, $22 (32pp) ISBN 978-0-8050-6243-4

Grandma Moses's own words, excerpted from her memoirs, and reproductions of her evocative primitive paintings provide a solid foundation for this appealing volume. The excerpts appear on the left of each spread on an oval, darkened to appear like parchment, opposite a related painting on the right. Less strong is the book's third component, which appears on the right below each painting: Nikola-Lisa's (One Hole in the Road) simplistic and uneven interpretation of the artist's environment and lifestyle, which reads as a run-on commentary more or less thematically tied to each piece of art. He starts out describing Moses's world objectively (""When Grandma Moses looks out her window, she sees a world of spotted cows, and rolling hills, and white picket fences""), then abruptly gives the narrator a role in the goings-on (""With Christmas around the corner,/ we'll have lots of fun outdoors,/ and indoors, too--/ opening presents, playing games,/ and feasting on food/ we've helped prepare""). Yet his captionlike account succeeds in creating a through-line for the paintings, which youngsters may appreciate. Aimed at considerably more advanced readers, Moses's own writing effortlessly brings children back to the era of her childhood as she describes the diversions of each season. Ages 4-10. (Oct.)