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Three Stories in One Book

by Helen V. Griffith & illustrated by James Stevenson

Age Range: 7 - 9

Pub Date: Feb. 28th, 2001
ISBN: 0-06-029148-6
Publisher: Greenwillow

The surpassing good news here is that three of Griffith’s four estimable chapter books about Janetta and her Grandaddy (Grandaddy’s Stars, 1995, etc.) are again available to delight “readers” who are read-to, young readers themselves, and more than a few older readers. Again, Grandaddy’s homespun wisdom initiates Janetta into the mysteries of fish-talk and leads her to name the mule at his red-dirt farm when she first visits. On her second visit, it encourages her in flights of tall-tale imagination, approves her creative abilities (she dances to his mouth-organ music “better than the bugs”), plus he finds the perfect answer to what to name the totally unexpected kittens by sending her favorite home with her. Finally, when he visits them in Baltimore, he finds the perfect responses to her planned sightseeing stops at school and playground. The only title missing in this three-in-one reprint is the more somber Georgia Music (1986), an omission understandable in achieving a cohesive reprint collection. The bad news? Stevenson’s delightful watercolors appear in black and white, effectively reducing what were charmingly antic, beautifully complementary illustrations for a captivatingly droll text to advanced thumbnails. Something vital has been eliminated from the illustrative stew, but the ironically ebullient text survives. This intergenerational relationship continues to shine unsentimentally but affectingly. If you’re charge of read-tos or are just seeking a good read and you missed this duo before, run—do not walk—to your bookseller or library and get to know Grandaddy and Janetta. (Fiction. 7-9)