FICTION

Grandparents

Greystone. May 2020. 36p. Tr $17.95. ISBN 9781771645669.
COPY ISBN
K-Gr 2–Manuel and Manuela, also known as Grandmother and Grandfather, celebrate aging in a jocular dialogue with unique illustrations. Manuel hears news of a dance in the village and invites Manuela. She responds that she is as “ugly as a chicken with no feathers.” As she proclaims the need for beauty products to mask parts of her face and body, Manuel counters with descriptive similes of adoration about her white hair “like a midsummer cloud” and dry lips “like sand in a desert.” The story builds with repetition as he adds onto his list of compliments, finishing each time with “Now please hurry up. We have to go dancing!” On the final page, as they embrace on the dance floor, vignettes of their life together, both the momentous and the mundane, float around them in pencil and watercolor illustrations. Usuna’s depictions of the couple are very simple with dot and line faces. Manuela always wears a coy smile, even as she self-deprecates. The surrounding scenes play with perspective, while pops of color highlight the characters amidst a soft wash of grey and blue. While the text flows beautifully and the odd illustrations are mesmerizing, will children appreciate the poetic notions, or just hear a woman repeatedly describe all of the things she hates about her appearance?
VERDICT An additonal purchase about a sweet couple whose love has outlasted the test of time.

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