Old to Joy

Gnome Road. . Sept. 2023. 32p. Tr $18.99. ISBN 9781957655062.
Gr 1-4–With paintings of home that seem pulled out of a wistful old movie, a nostalgic roadside piece of Americana that will make readers want to enter the pages, Clark sets the stage for homage to old things that should be cherished. Joy’s grandmama has “rickety-rockety chairs on a crickety-crockety porch.” Joy says, “Old things look funny and smell funny. I don’t know how come old people like old things anyway.” This child is about to be set straight. Her grandmother points out the songs of the gentle giants, old trees that shelter her house. She washes dishes in the sink, the “old-fashioned” way, and about that package that has arrived from a childhood friend—she’s in no hurry to open it up. The two of them “mosey” through the garden and delight in the blossoms (a page of flowers and their meanings is included), and head upstairs, where boxes of hats give way to pretend and a gift for Joy, a hat handed down through generations. The simplicity of the sentiments and the pacing of the book work in lockstep; the generosity of spirit in the grandmother’s every gesture flows from Clark’s graceful illustrations. This book doesn’t make a lesson of growing old, but models living well, and readers will look at their own surroundings with new eyes.
VERDICT For shelves about grandparents, family, or on aging, this book takes on the joy of growing old for all ages.

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