Monday, January 7, 2013
by Rosemary Wells, illustrated by Christopher Denise
Candlewick, 2012. 58 pgs. Intermediate.
Jenny Mouse's grandfather came from the Old Country--Italy, to be exact--as a stowaway under a coil of rope on the steamship Leonardo da Vinci. He hid in a box of cod going to Salvadore's Spaghetti Restaurant in Boston's north end, and set up his own mouse-sized and mouse-frequented restaurant. When his children took over the restaurant business, it fell to Grandfather to care for Jenny, to spoon milk into her mouth, help her button her buttons, and take her to the seashore to bake clams and learn the names of shells. When Jenny's grandfather dies, she is totally bereft. She begins to think she sees him walking the streets or down on the beach. Once when she runs down the beach after her "grandfather" she is miraculously saved from a pounding wave, and deposited in a place where she finds something that will give her peace. Following Grandfather is a beautiful story of the immigrant experience, and a fine book for comforting a young child who has lost a beloved grandparent. Highly recommended, particularly as a read-aloud.