Review of the Week

When CharlieHest, Amy. When Charley Met Grandpa. Helen Oxenbury, Illus. Pic. Bk. Candlewick, 2013. [34]p. $15.99. 978-0-7636-5314-9. OUTSTANDING. GRADES PRE-2.

Henry and his puppy Charley of Charley’s First Night (2012) return in an equally charming sequel. Henry’s invitation to his grandfather brims with affection for his new puppy, but Grandpa confesses he has “never been friends with a dog before.” The welcoming at the train station starts awkwardly, but Charley eventually wins Grandpa over with both sharing a bed on the final page. The basic story has been done before but never better. The well-paced narrative includes enough detail to give characters personality, but allows the art to develop the emotional aspect. Elegant, realistic illustrations, rendered in pencil and watercolor, convey the affection between grandfather and grandson and between boy and dog. They also capture the initial discomfort between Grandpa and Charley. Whether rolling upside down or shivering in the snow, Charley’s ebullient personality, conveyed in a variety of winsome postures, will charm readers as quickly as it does Grandpa.

Linda Perkins, Independent

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