MacMillan Children’s Publishing Group calls Grandpa Green “the book grownups read to those still growing.”

GRANDPAGREENIIPicture Book Fiction
Age Range: 5-9 years
Grade Level: Kindergarten-4th
Published by Roaring Book Press,
Holtzbrinck Publishing Holdings
Ltd Partnership

Text and Illustrations
Copyright © 2011 by Lane Smith


Peek inside.

Peek inside.


A Caldecott Honor Book
A New York Times Best Illustrated Book
A Publishers Weekly Best Children’s Book
Silver Medal Society of Illustrators
An Amazon Best Book
Kansas City Star Top 100 Books
A Barnes & Noble Best Book
A School Library Journal Best Book
Seven Impossible Things Top Ten
A Time Out New York Kids Best Book
Junior Library Guild Selection
Starred Review by Publishers Weekly
Starred Review by School Library Journal


GRANDPA GREEN ornamentally grows our imagination, and creates a place like paradise. This quiet story dedicated to a grandparent derives its energy from the wonderfully clever illustrations. What makes GRANDPA GREEN standout from other sentimental picture books that chronicle a life are the clever, conflicted, laugh-and-cry moments; especially the ending. GRANDPA GREEN reminds both the young and the old that there’s a resolution to every problem, even the ones that seem the most unfortunate.

Lane has created a masterpiece with humor and heART.

Favorite line
“But the important stuff, the garden remembers for him.”

KEM Sapphire
Using an art form within an art form, Smith has done it again. His illustrations of topiary designs are brimming with texture, humor, and profound depth as they explore pieces of a fictional gardener’s biography. While some shapes are immediately apparent, I found I could not rush through this book. Each spread demands that the reader pause, or else risk missing a visual surprise. A dramatic four-page gatefold at the ends elaborately reviews the entire story of the gardener’s well-lived life.

Smith’s quiet story explores a wide range of universal emotions, and undoubtedly sparks imagination and discussion across generations of readers.

KEM Diamond

Wowee! Wow! Wow! I want what Lane Smith eats for breakfast. Who else would have thought to narrate a story about a long and fulfilling life through a great-grandson’s guided topiary tour? Smith’s enigmatic illustrations and elegant silence drew me to one conclusion. Each page turn dazzled me with a new truth.

GRANDPA GREEN covers the three “r’s” of relationship, reverence, and remembering. The Ancient Greek symbol of regeneration and rebirth, GREEN, provides the perfect color scheme for a book about the generational gift of life–and the ultimate last name for Great Grandpa. This timeless and gentle book will bless generations to our great-grandchildren and beyond.

Favorite line (Kristi and I didn’t compare notes. Honest.)
“But the important stuff, the garden remembers for him.”


What do you like most about GRANDPA GREEN?

4 thoughts on “GRANDPA GREEN

  1. Formatting changes require me to reapprove these comments:
    Randy on May 15, 2014 said:
    I enjoyed Grandpa Green’s theme of how life stories and hobbies are passed down through generations. The fold out panoramic view at the end was also nice, showcasing the garden shrine. But what really stood out for me was Lane Smith’s wonderful illustrations. The art was used to accentuate the differences between “clear” reality (distinct ink lines) and “fuzzy” memories (spotty watercolors eluding to spotty memories). Analyzing his choices in this regard was fascinating to me, but did raise a few nitpicks where the art logic was inconsistent—still, a great study for illustrators on how art can compliment a story’s themes, even if very subtle. The book is open to interpretation, but could be a nice starting point to discuss relatives struggling with Alzheimer’s or dementia.

    My main caveat is the book may not hold a child’s attention for multiple readings given the book is all “telling” with little plot or conflict (i.e. borrow a library copy instead of buying this picture book). However, the book is a testament to how much can be told in just 150+ words, and averaging just 5+ words per page makes this a “page turner” for restless children… 🙂

    My favorite line (to establish the child’s first person narration) was the opening: “He was born a really long time ago, before computers or cell phones or television.”

    A great picture book suggestion, thanks!

    • Original on May 15, 2014 at 2:08 pm:
      Randy! Your astute comments help us to analyze each book through new, microscopic eyes. Utilizing the book to discuss aging in general–smart. Utilizing it to discuss Alzheimer’s or dementia–that’s thinking with the heart. Thank you–from a restless grandma.

  2. At one of my classes at the Loft Literary Center in Minneapolis, we discussed “quiet picture books” that succeed without necessarily having a plot driving the book forward. At the time, that was a new concept for me. We discussed the importance of a quiet book’s residual effect–the lingering taste it leaves in your mouth after the book is closed. All books should have one, but quiet books NEED one. I think Lane Smith got it.

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