Lane Smith, author, illustrator and creator of the ingeniously counter-cultural It’s a book, presents another quirky work of text and picture which has all the complex simplicity of a gem. Grandpa Green is a landscape format picture book, depicting a child walking through an expansive garden in which shrubs and gnarled trees bear sculptured masses of topiary. A very simple text tells the tale of Grandpa Green growing up, while the mottled geometry of the foliage surrounding the child, and the bright splash of occasional flowers, appear to be illustrating the simple but moving flow of events from childhood to old age. It appears at first that the child is Grandpa Green himself, but towards the end of the story the child’s role, and the purpose of his stroll through the garden, are revealed.
This is a short book about a long life, and about how that life is shaped by the world, and shapes the world. The many mottled greens of the pictures – and of the text and endpapers – suggest regeneration, while the relationship between youth and age is one which might be nurtured during the sharing of this book.