By Lane Smith
Roaring Brook Press, 2011. Unpaged. Picture book.
A young boy chronicles his grandfather's life as all the aspects are displayed through a beautiful topiary garden. The garden shows how his grandfather grew up on a farm, how he met his wife, and follows him through the war he fought in.
Lane Smith has a huge winner here. I've been a long-time fan of his since reading The Happy Hocky Family and have loved all his books I've read since. Not only is this book gorgeously, delicately illustrated--it's written with great poignancy and love. There are a few sly moments in the story, but mostly it's very tenderly written. The aspect of family history is made significant by the child's love for his grandpa. Smith's style in this book is a little reminiscent of the illustrations by N.M. Bodecker (Half-Magic series) and are just fantastic--creative genius and great ability combine to make standout artwork. I truly hope it wins the Caldecott. This is one you should not miss.