When Charley Met Grampa
Publication Date: September 10, 2013
List Price: $15.99*
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The creators of Charley’s First Night return with a tale of a boy, a puppy, and a grampa — an enchanting picture book bearing all the hallmarks of a classic.
It’s a snowy day, and Grampa is coming by train for a visit. Henry can’t wait! He sets out with Charley, his beloved pup, pulling a sled for Grampa’s suitcase. To pass time at the station, Henry tells Charley about Grampa — how he has the longest feet and snores wild, and how he doesn’t know how to be friends with a dog. At last Grampa arrives, but when a sudden gust of wind blows his hat away, Charley disappears into the whirling snow — and returns, to their relief, carrying Grampa’s green cap! With lyrical simplicity, Amy Hest narrates a small, turning moment in the life of a child and a grandparent, while Helen Oxenbury renders every gesture and detail with signature warmth and charm.
"I grew up in a small suburban community about an hour from New York City. My favorite things were biking, reading, and spying. I spied on everyone, and still do. Coffee shops, I find, make an excellent backdrop for this particular activity. I may look like I'm minding my own business, sipping coffee, eating a cheese Danish, but in fact I am really doing spy work. Listening to conversations at the tables nearby. Watching to see who is saying what to whom. I am amazingly discreet for someone who never went to spy school. As I pick up bits and pieces of true life stories, I quietly weave in my own ideas, creating new stories with my very own endings. Spy work is a lot of fun.
"My parents took me to the city often. I loved the commotion and whirl on the streets and the screeching subway underground. I loved the hot dogs and crunchy doughnuts at Chock Full 0' Nuts, and the way mustard came on a tiny rippled paper. By the time I was seven, I was certain of one thing: that I would one day live in New York. Many years later, after graduating from library school, I moved to the Upper West Side of Manhattan, and I live here still, with my husband and two children, Sam and Kate.
"I was a lucky child, really. I was so close with my grandparents, it was as if I had two sets of parents all the time I was growing up. They lived in New York but came out to our house on weekends. Fridays, Nana cooked up a storm and arrived laden with shopping bags filled with homemade Jewish delicacies. She lit Sabbath candles and told wonderful family stories. I was privy to the best gossip.
"Grampa and I played checkers. We took earlymorning walks. My goal: to get out of the house before my brother woke up, to be alone for once with Grampa. Destination: hot chocolate and a buttered roll.
"I suppose I have to tell the truth about the kind of child I was. The best word to describe me: boring. I never once did anything extraordinarily wonderful or extraordinarily terrible. I knew in my heart I wanted to be a writer when I grew up, but there was this nasty little voice in the back of my head, and it was laughing at me. "You must be kidding, Amy! Why in the world would anyone want to read what you write? Remember who you are: the most boring person in the universe. Nothing ever happens to you. What nerve you have, thinking you can do something wonderful and clever like write."
"I worked for several years as a children's librarian and, later, in the children's book departments of several major publishing houses. I had a lot of good jobs. I had a secret, too. I wanted to write. And what I wanted to write, always, was children's books. it took me a long time to get over a kind of fear of writing, to start to believe I could do it. it took me a long time to realize all those boring days of my childhood may not have been so empty after all.
"My books are about real people-often people in my own family, with new names hut familiar personality traits. The setting is more often than not New York City. Family, home. Running themes in my life, and in my stories, too."
HELEN OXENBURY is the world-class illustrator of dozens of beloved picture books, includingMichael Rosen's "We're Going on a Bear Hunt, " Phyllis Root's "Big Momma Makes the World, "which wonthe "Boston Globe-Horn Book" Picture Book Award, " "and her own Tom and Pippo series. She lives in London, England.
Hest and Oxenbury’s story is every bit as sweet and tender as its predecessor... Oxenbury’s meticulous pencil-and-watercolor paintings and Hest’s knowing prose continue to reveal the unconditional love that flows between Charley and the humans in his life.
—Publishers Weekly (starred review)
Charley is pure joy with fur and will surely bring a smile to young readers. Charming, detailed pencil and watercolor illustrations feature framed, softly hued scenes both cozy and frigid. This is a tender story about the warm affection between a grandfather and his grandson. A real winner.
—School Library Journal (starred review)
Picking up where Charley’s First Night ended, the tale of Charley and Henry Korn continues in this charming stand-alone storybook. ... Hest’s language is descriptive and lyrical... Oxenbury’s pencil-and-watercolor illustrations are enchanting... Children will love Charley and Grampa, too.
—Kirkus Reviews (starred review)
A synopsis doesn’t begin to reveal this story’s sweetness. Each turn of the page brings a touching moment... It’s hard to imagine a better match for Hest’s warm words than Oxenbury’s beautifully depicted snowy days. Framed in the soft gray of November sky, each picture tells its own story—and every time Charley appears, adorableness ensues. A delight.
—Booklist (starred review)
Here, as elsewhere, Hest’s childlike diction brings charm and interest to the text… [T]his is exactly the sort of pretty, sweet and gently funny book that is likely to appeal to older adults and younger children together.
—The New York Times Online