A grandmother tells a story from her West Indian childhood to her grandson.
Grannie questions her grandson: “I ever tell you about Ti Bolom?” Ti Bolom is a folk character from Grannie’s childhood home of Dominica who terrifies people walking alone at night. She begins a “Little Red Riding Hood”–esque story from her youth, telling her grandson that when she was his age, she was tasked with taking food to an old lady who lived in the jungle. Grannie (then called Christophine) knew it would be dark on the way back and was afraid she’d meet Ti Bolom but braved the journey nonetheless. Binch’s lavishly detailed art pulls readers into the setting and expertly conveys Christophine’s nervous movement. Though Christophine escapes Ti Bolom’s clutches, the curious and brave child returns to the jungle to set a trap for the trickster. Sadly, the ending—both the text and illustration—doesn’t leave readers room to make up their own minds about the validity of Grannie’s tale. However, this does not spoil a story whose characters’ feelings are so vividly rendered readers may recall seeing such expressions in real life. Beautiful visuals aside, it will also make a walloping read-aloud, with its West Indian cadences, repeated onomatopoeia and folk refrain of “ ‘Eh Kwik!’ ‘Eh Kwak!’ ”
A lovely celebration of the grandparent and grandchild relationship. (Picture book. 5-9)