Review Detail

Kids Fiction 94
A Visit with Grandfather
Overall rating
 
4.5
Plot
 
4.0
Characters
 
4.0
Writing Style
 
5.0
Illustrations/Photos (if applicable)
 
5.0
Based on her own Poppy, Courtney pens a story of a little girl who travels a long distance with her mother to spend time with her grandfather in his cottage on the coast of Newfoundland. It's a remote location that must be accessed by boat, but she looks forward to spending time with him. His routine is work intensive but intentional and involves chopping wood, picking cloudberries and catching fish, and baking bread. The two also have plenty of time to explore the island and just spend time together watching the water. The visits don't last forever, and the two are sad when they must part, but know that they will be able to spend more time together in the future.
Good Points
The spare text is lyrical yet easy to follow for young readers. There are just enough words to make this perfect for a frequently repeated read aloud. The exploration of the island, replete with counting many of the sights (clothes, rows, stones) gives comfort to the girl as she makes memories with Poppy and is about to "count the days until we are together again".

The illustrations echo the rough hewn style of life in Poppy's wind swept home, with shades of tan, brown highlighted by woodsy greens and warm reds. There are puffins, flowers, trees, and a repeated quilt motif that adds to the cozy feeling of the book. The Newfoundland landscape is well represented, and I am intrigued enough that I would like to taste some cloudberries, but may pass on hunting down salt beef and pease pudding!

My own children were enthralled by Werner's 1988 The Good Old Days, about kitten siblings who go to spend time with their grandparents, even though they saw their own grandparents frequently. There is something safe adventurous about living in someone else's home and experiencing their life for a time, but when that person is a beloved grandparent, there is a feeling of safety as well. Reading these books is also a good way to prepare young visitors for an upcoming experience.

Along with Garland's Grandpa's Tractor, Reagan's How to Babysit a Grandpa, Larson's The Bagel King, and The Hello Goodbye Window by Norton and Raschka, Poppy's House is a delightful visit to a caring grandfather that offers a look into daily life in what will be an exotic location for many young readers.
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