Friday, June 19, 2015

Picture of Grace by Josh Armstrong


Title: Picture of Grace
Author: Josh Armstrong
Publisher: Joshua E. Armstrong
Rating: WORTHY!

Illustrated by Taylor Bills.

Some children's authors unfortunately feel that young children are an easy mark and not worth much time, and the path to success is via a series of cheap illustrations and a silly rhyme, and you're in business. This author isn't one of those, and neither is this illustrator, Taylor Bills, I am so happy to report!

I've been lucky with the children's books I've reviewed, and I've found very few of them to be sub-standard, but I get to chose which ones I review, so I have an advantage! I try to review these books positively if I can because while children don't deserve less than adults, they are, bless their little cotton socks, far less critical and are willing (as I am in fact), to forgo excellence and finery if they can get a great story and/or some engrossing art work, and especially so if it's educational. This is one reason why I was so thrilled with the two books I'm reviewing today, because both of them are really, really excellent. On the other hand, it is Friday, so maybe I'm just in a thoroughly good mood. Naw, these books are great any day of the week!

This particular book is a truly remarkable story about a young girl and her grandfather, who is an artist. The gallery owner, Delilah, is obnoxious and is demanding this one last painting, insisting he have it done in only two weeks. She doesn't care about his protests. She may know a lot about art but she's doesn't know what it's like! When grandpa dies, no doubt due to stress, Delilah sees this as a good thing because his last painting, even if unfinished, will appreciate in value immensely.

Grace doesn't see art that way. She sees the last picture her grandfather began, but never finished, and she decides to help him out. As relatives and friends stop by to see the painting, they encounter a gallery owner whose face is bluer than grace's mom's clothes, but what they notice isn't that - it's the painting. There is a special meaning with which grandpa imbued it, and Grace's contribution can be seen only as the icing on the cake, notwithstanding Delilah's frosty demeanor. Crumbs! I loved this book and recommend it.

I wouldn't try reading it on a Smart-phone; the illustrations are discernible, but the text is not. On an iPad, which permitted, thankfully, the expanding of the pictures, it's eminently readable. I can't speak for the print version which I have no seen.


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