CM . . . .
Volume VII Number 14 . . . . March 16, 2001
Once upon a time...Author Gary Barwin has told a charming little story. This is an intergenerational tale told from a grandson's point of view. The grandpa grows from a boy to a man, and we see how he shares a love of snowmen and violins with his playful grandson. Grandpa's Snowman would make a nice story for lap sharing. I'm not sure I would choose to read this book in a storytime setting. Unfortunately the text is too small and a bit difficult to read. Kitty Macaulay has done a fine job with her gentle watercolour illustrations. Watch for the lively parrot as the story progresses. Macaulay's full page illustrations are the most effective. I find the pages with the small boxed illustrations less effective with small children. The untrained eye can be confused by the busy comic strip quality. Illustrators tend to use this method to fit more action onto a page. I find young children, especially in a program setting, have a difficult time following unwritten storylines without a bit of explanation. However, the two page spread of family photographs does show the reader the passage of time as the boy grows into a man and becomes a grandpa. The magic of this book lies in the combination of its warm illustrations and the story of a special bond between a boy and his grandfather.
Catherine Hoyt is the Curator of the Eileen Wallace Children's Literature Collection at the University of New Brunswick in Fredericton.
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