Syndicated cartoonist Crane teams up with Young to create an adventurous shaggy dog story.
When grandson Nelson asks for a story, Grampa begins. “There once was this animal…you know, the hump one?” Nelson replies, “A camel?” Grampa answers, to Nelson’s astonishment, “That’s right, a humpback whale!” The story continues in this manner as the two characters imagine a thoroughly nonsensical yarn filled with Grampa’s surprise responses to the questions he’s posed. The arc of the story becomes increasingly absurd, to the vexation of the boy. “What? But Grampa….” The whale is not swimming in the ocean, as Nelson assumes, but a swimming pool; a black-and-white bird that can’t fly is not a penguin but an ostrich; the guy that works at the pool is not the lifeguard but the hot dog vendor. Nelson begins to think Grampa is deaf, “What? Can you even hear me?” Crane’s signature drawings feature white-haired, bespectacled grandparents and their blond grandson (all are white) in oversized pages to depict the ludicrous cumulative venture Grampa keeps fabricating, often placing Nelson and Grampa within the scenarios Grampa cooks up. Though the bright, young boy loves his Grampa, this kind of creative storytelling can be ridiculous. Kids will identify with Nelson as his exasperation brings him to the more sensible Gramma for another story. What will hers entail?
An intergenerational lark for readers with a high tolerance for foolishness. (Picture book. 4-6)