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HERE COMES HORTENSE! by Heather Hartt-Sussman


by Heather Hartt-Sussman & illustrated by Georgia Graham

Age Range: 4 - 7

Pub Date: April 10th, 2012
ISBN: 978-1-77049-221-9
Publisher: Tundra

With Nana, every trip is an adventure, and sometimes a lesson.

Nana and her new husband, Bob, drive up in their bright orange van. They're planning to take the unnamed young narrator to WonderWorld, where he rides the mild Teacups while Nana favors the Wild Mouse. Mostly, he just craves some time alone with Nana. But the duo has another surprise for him: Bob's granddaughter Hortense, who is about his age and as adventurous as Nana. While Nana and Hortense ride the Landslide and the Mixmaster, the downcast lad mostly sits on a bench with Bob. "This is turning out to be the worst surprise ever!" Late that night, with Hortense and Nana in one room and him and Bob in another, he's hoping that Bob will sing "Lavender's Blue" to him like Nana does, but Bob falls quickly into a deep, snoring sleep. The next day starts on the same dark note but takes an abrupt turn when Hortense and the little boy begin talking, and she shares an identical disappointment at having little time with Bob. The two children forge a new friendship. Hartt-Sussman's narrative touch is deft. Graham's chalk pastels, a wacky delight from start to finish, bring appropriate lift to what could be a melancholy story. Her characters are uniquely quirky yet have a streak of photographic realism.

Warm and offbeat. (Picture book. 4-7)