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by Ursel Scheffler & translated by Rosemary Lanning & illustrated by Ruth Scholte van Mast

Age Range: 6 - 11

Pub Date: Nov. 1st, 1997
ISBN: 1-55858-795-0
Publisher: NorthSouth

 In this easy-to-read Swiss import, a boy visits his grandfather and they have a chat about computers, but that's not all that happens in tale that succeeds on several levels. A spiffy purple laptop resides on nine-year-old Ollie's desk. His father sells computers and his mother attends a computer show. Only Grandpa is out of step, a fact that keeps coming up during the boy's visit. Finally Grandpa boasts of the knowledge of some ``very old'' computers, made locally, portable and running on solar power. He brings forth a sunflower seed, programmed with the plans for constructing a plant and information on when to stop growing. After Ollie processes this information, he's excited to take the knowledge--and a sunflower seed--home to his father. The story highlights the boy's first independent trip on the train, and also explores a potential rift in his relationship with the older man; Ollie is unwittingly smug about his high-tech proclivities, but Grandpa knows how to smooth the way. Scheffler also presents complex biological information in an elementary manner. The watercolors capably portray the home, train trip, and countryside, and details of a little dog's antics add humor to many scenes. (Fiction. 6-11)