Jo Ellen Bogart. Illustrated by Barbara Reid.
Preschool - grade 2 / Ages 3 - 7.
My grandma went a-travelling,Gifts is the story of an adventurous grandmother who asks her granddaughter what she would like from her travels. The granddaughter does not request the usual souvenirs, but asks for such things as a mountain, a rainbow, a sunrise, a roar, an iceberg and a memory. The grandmother complies and through the gifts, the granddaughter shares in the grandmother's experiences. In the course of the grandmother's travels, both the child and the grandmother grow older and by the end of the story the child has grown up to be a mother who promises to share her grandmother's gifts with her own child.
She said: "What would you have me bring?"
"Not much," said I,
"Just a piece of the sky,
and a hundred songs I can sing."
Gifts demonstrates a positive relationship between grandmother and grandchild - one that is full of love and sharing, where the true gifts that the grandmother gives are not material. Gifts also portrays a positive image of aging; the grandmother, although grey-haired, is full of life and vigour. Even as she ages and is in a wheelchair, she retains her energy and zest for life.
Gifts is an outstanding picture book. In 1995, it won the Amelia Frances Howard-Gibbon Medal for best illustrated Canadian children's picture book. Illustrator Barbara Reid, whose previous works include the award-winning Two by Two, Have you seen birds? and the Zoe board book series, continues her wonderful work here. The illustrations are detailed, colourful and magical. The grandmother appears vigourous and energetic; the child is joyful and adoring. Action and emotion are both wonderfully portrayed.
Author Jo Ellen Bogart has written several other children's books including Sarah saw a Blue Macaw, Daniel's Dog, and Two Too Many. In Gifts she employs rhyme effectively to create a special relationship.
Gifts is a delightful book that children will enjoy.
Wendy Zwaal is the Children's Librarian at the Newmarket Public Library.
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Copyright © 1996 the Manitoba Library Association. Reproduction for personal use is permitted only if this copyright notice is maintained. Any other reproduction is prohibited without permission.
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