Grandpa and Me and the Park in the City


by Carren Strock
ISBN: 978-1-5154-0050-9
30 pages (8.5″ x 11″),
Purchase online via Amazon or Barnes & Noble

Grandpa and Me and the Park in the City is the story of Braden, a seven-year-old who spends his summers with his grandpa in the city. Braden once loved going to the park with his grandpa. Now he’s feeling sad. He thinks he’s too old for the swings and the slide. But he’s in for a big surprise when Grandpa takes him to the park very early one morning.

The park is filled with people of all ages. They are doing all kinds of fun exercises. Braden says he can do them, but when he tries, he realizes that they are harder than they appear. Embarrassed, he stops trying. Then it comes to him, right out of the blue, some practice and hard work and he could do the exercises too. And he learns that you’re never too old to have fun in the park.

This book is for children, parents, and grandparents. It also lends itself to inter-generational, ethnic, and urban study theme units for elementary school teachers interested in creative classroom learning. Urban children especially will identify with the city park.

FIRST REVIEW:”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.