Grandpa Green by Lane Smith, Roaring Brook Press
I still pick up children's picture books at the library on a regular basis, borrowing two or three every week or so. I used to read them to my daughter every night at bed time but now that she's in grade six we don't do that as often. Now we'll read mostly chapter books as well as a chapter from a children's Bible. I think I'll talk more about that book in a future post.
Now I continue to borrow children's books as research because I am really interested in creating these kinds of books of my own. Studying how other authors and illustrators approach their craft is very inspirational and informative as well as being discouraging at times as their mark is set so very high. How could I ever reach that mark? However, this has led me to understand that although most of these books are aimed strictly at children there is a sub-section that can easily be appreciated by anyone including adults as well.
Grandpa Green is an excellent example of that kind of book. In it a young boy talks about his grandpa and in just a few brief words describes his life but in such a pensive and loving way such as a young child really would say it. The grandfather's fading memory is then woven into the story in a very kind fashion. Something that just usually happens as one grows older, at least to some extent or another, but does not in any way take away from the remarable lives that have been lived. The child's story is then illustrated with the most beautiful drawings that not only capture but subtly expands on the story as it is being told.
There are many other children's books like that. I think of Where the Wild Things Are, Madeline, Winnie the Poo, and many others where the story and illustrations are just so perfect that they can be admired by anyone, child or grown up. There's always something much deeper in those books than will usually be noticed at first. I think I want to make a book like that one day.