“Grandpa and Me and the Park in the City,” written and illustrated by Carren Strock, celebrates the bond between a child and his grandfather and the rewards that effort and persistence can bring. Braden is a seven-year-old who spends time with his grandfather during the summer months. Although he lives in the country, Braden discovers that city-life has its attractions. He especially enjoys the park, with its swings, slides, and monkey bars. However, the day comes when Braden outgrows childish things, and he is disconsolate. Fortunately, Grandpa has some pleasant activities in mind that anyone can enjoy, such as Tai-Chi.
The author celebrates diversity, showing people of different ages, ethnicities, shapes, and sizes enjoying city life together. In addition, she uses rhyme effectively, making this a good choice for a read-aloud. The illustrations are awash with eye-catching pastel colors. However, Strock’s drawings of facial expressions and the human body in motion are not as strong as those depicting apartment houses, stores, and the park.
“Grandpa and Me and the Park in the City” leaves us with a warm feeling. The connection between a growing boy and his devoted grandparent can be precious and lasting, and it is heartening to watch Braden mature and learn practical skills and values from his wise and loving grandfather.