Picking up where Charley’s First Night (2012) ended, the tale of Charley and Henry Korn continues in this charming stand-alone storybook.
Now that new-puppy Charley has settled in, Henry writes to Grampa to tell him all about Charley and to invite Grampa to visit. With elegant simplicity, the premise is revealed: Grampa agrees to come but states that he has never been friends with a dog before. The ensuing action takes place when Henry and Charley go off through the snow to pick up Grampa from the village train station. As before, Hest’s language is descriptive and lyrical: “ ‘Wait till you meet Grampa,’ I told Charley, and he danced in the wind and his ears blew back and I pulled my sled for Grampa’s suitcase.” Oxenbury’s pencil-and-watercolor illustrations are enchanting, perfectly capturing the town, Henry and Charley’s trek, and their anxious wait at the station. With a WHOOOOO WHOOOOOOOO, the train finally arrives. Although Charley and Grampa look at each other a long time, and Charley even smiles, it is not at all certain they will be friends until, in a tense, dramatic moment, Charley effects the heroic rescue of Grampa’s windblown hat through the ever-deepening snow. One moment changes everything. That night, Charley and Grampa look into each other’s eyes again, this time telegraphing, “I love you.”
Children will love Charley and Grampa, too. (Picture book. 4-8)