In Stewart’s debut picture book, a grandparent’s dilemma about how to spend time with “a gaggle of grandchildren” is answered in rhyme by a wise old lion, backed by colorful photographs that illustrate his wide-ranging advice.
Lounging in a backyard vegetable garden, Grand Paws, a lion in a baseball cap, tells his human counterpart what he would do “if I had as many grandchildren as you”: take them to the beach to make sand castles, fly with them on an imaginary trip around the world (via a giant unicorn made of driftwood) and help them make costumes for a wild animal parade “through the poppy fields up to the trees / Where grandkids could sing just as loud as they please!” He would read them stories “and teach them to fish / And give them all stars upon which they could wish.” After a rooftop feast of popovers and pink lemonade, “We’d race around chasing big dreams and small bugs / Then gather around for a round of group hugs!” Creativity, imagination, sharing and caring are Stewart’s overall cross-generational themes, and she conveys them nicely through lively verse and a collection of vivid photographs that color each facing page. Stewart’s rhyming couplets gallop along, begging to be read aloud and easily holding young readers’ attention. And while some of the photos have a generic or amateurish feel, they effectively illustrate the wide world of wonder and possibilities suggested by the book, and simple captions beneath some photos set Grand Paws’ advice into a real-world context. Particularly captivating are the images of portaledges (hanging tents) and a flash of green as the sun dips below the horizon.
A photo-rich picture book that engagingly suggests a myriad of fun activities brought to life by Stewart’s bouncy, heartfelt verse.