Grandpa Green

Lane Smith again.  Lane Smith PLUS an elephant on the cover? I’ll be that melting puddle in the corner, don’t mind me.

He was born a really long time ago,

before computers or cell phones or television.

Grandpa Green’s memories are carved into his garden, and his great grandkid, the storyteller, learns all about him through his masterpieces. Sometimes his memories are only in the greenery, but his sweet grandson bravely walks through that garden in order to fully know his grandfather. This is such a tender story about life and love and imagination and aging. I would recommend reading it with a box of tissues nearby. Or at least not in an I-just-had-an-amazing-east-coast-weekend-and-a-brutal-flight-back-west-to-real-life state of exhaustion.


Lane Smith created his world in a monochromatic palette of garden greens. Never too bright and cheery, the palette perfectly sets the melancholic, yet comforting tone of Grandpa Green. Splashes of red punctuate a few notable moments, but muted greens remain paramount. Visually, this palette richly envelops the garden, and symbolically, the story is all about one Grandpa Green.

Framed in a more vibrant or varied color palette, this story would have a different appeal. The heart and soul of Grandpa Green is bittersweet, and the color palette matches perfectly.

Clear your schedule for the rest of your day, cause you will spend it all in the last illustration spread of this book, remembering Grandpa Green’s important things. And when you’re back and can’t get enough of Lane Smith? The fantastic Burgin Streetman of Vintage Kids’ Books My Kid Loves interviews him in two parts, here and here.