The big storm is the Blizzard of '88--but this flavorful, warming little story registers without reference to a historical episode (which, in any case, comes only in a closing note). Anna's grandpa, visiting New York from the country, is restless and cranky until the snowy morning he sets out to take her to school so she won't miss a spelling bee. Then, the worse the storm gets, the cheerier he becomes--and the more his outspokenness works to the good. The two take the El, and to Anna's embarrassment, Grandpa starts talking to the other passengers. He's practically ecstatic, and extra-convivial, when the El gets stuck. But even fearful Anna catches the friendly, informal spirit and, so they won't ""freeze to death,"" leads the others in a game of Simon Says--as pictured by Margot Tomes (the El car high above the snowy rooftops, the silhouetted grown-ups patting their heads and rubbing their stomachs), a scene to make all ages smile. Then it's time to go down the fireman's ladder; to ride the fire truck slowly through the deep snow; and, holding hands with two of their new friends, to tramp the rest of the way home--where Grandpa, contentedly playing checkers with ""champ"" Mrs. Sweeney, decides maybe he'll stick around a while. From the domestic cross-currents in Anna's kitchen, to the headiness (and scariness) of being up in the stranded El, to the blustery struggle homeward--a small book with a lot of range.