________________ CM . . . . Volume XXII Number 3 . . . . September 18, 2015


Grant and Tillie Go Walking.

Monica Kulling. Illustrated by Sydney Smith.
Toronto, ON: Groundwood/House of Anansi, 2015.
32 pp., hardcover & pdf, $18.95 (hc.), $16.95 (pdf).
ISBN 978-1-55498-446-6 (hc.), ISBN 978-1-55498-448-0 (pdf).

Subject Heading:
Wood, Grant, 1891-1942-Juvenile fiction.

Preschool-grade 3 / Ages 4-8.

Review by Roxy Garstad.

**** /4



Relaxing under an apple tree, Tillie felt the sun warm her sleek brown back. She picked up an apple and dropped it into Grant's open palm. What a cow!

Grant chewed the apple while Tillie chewed her cud.

"I'm leaving for Paris tomorrow, Miss Tillie," Grant said. "I want to paint like the French artists do."

Tillie's brow furrowed. She didn't like the sound of that.

Grant and Tillie Go Walking captures a story familiar to young adults who wish to escape their home community in order to experience life in other countries and cultures. Grant, a young man living on the family farm in Iowa, is determined to leave the shackles of a harsh 1920s prairie life behind. He relocates to Paris to realize his dream of becoming a painter. However, he is sorely missed by his favourite cow, Tillie, whose waning milk production is noted by those left behind. When Grant realizes that his painting venture is not successful, he decides to return to Iowa, much to the delight of Tillie. While in Iowa, Grant paints one of the most famous portraits in American art history: American Gothic. It would seem that prairie life was not so devoid of inspiration, after all.

internal art      The writing is concise and thought-provoking. The reader is smoothly and expertly propelled back and forth between scenes in Paris and Iowa, which adds great interest and context to the story. One can almost feel Tillie's grief at the loss of Grant. While an author's note at the back of the book reveals that the Tillie story arc was not based in fact, it is a charming and necessary addition to the plot. In an age where family members often live far apart from each other, children may relate to Tillie's loneliness. Smith's illustrations accurately depict the characters' emotions, the fashions of the 1920s, and the muted colours of the prairie landscape. In addition, his rendition of American Gothic is a respectable interpretation of the original piece. All elements of the book come together to create what could very well become a classic in children's literature - and, certainly, one of the best children's books written on the story of painting.

Highly Recommended.

Roxy Garstad is the Collection Assessment Librarian at MacEwan University in Edmonton, AB.

To comment on this title or this review, send mail to cm@umanitoba.ca.

Copyright © the Manitoba Library Association. Reproduction for personal use is permitted only if this copyright notice is maintained. Any other reproduction is prohibited without permission.
Published by
The Manitoba Library Association
ISSN 1201-9364
Hosted by the University of Manitoba.

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