When Charley Met Grampa

illus. by Helen Oxenbury. 32p. Candlewick. Sept. 2013. Tr $15.99. ISBN 978-0-7636-5314-9. LC 2012954329.
RedReviewStarPreS-Gr 2—In a satisfying follow-up to Charley's First Night (Candlewick, 2012), Grampa, who admits that he is uncertain about getting to know Henry's puppy, is coming to visit and to meet Charley. The boy and puppy wait for him at the train station while snow gently covers the tracks and the town. Upon his arrival, the large gentleman and the tiny puppy size each other up while Grampa inquires, "…are you friendly or fierce?" When the wind picks up and Grampa's cap flies away, Charley takes off into the white world and it's feared that he's lost in the snow. But the diminutive dog saves the day by bringing the cap back, thus revealing he's both friendly and fierce in his determination, ensuring their burgeoning bond. Charley is pure joy with fur and will surely bring a smile to young readers. Charming, detailed pencil and watercolor illustrations feature framed, softly hued scenes both cozy and frigid. This is a tender story about the warm affection between a grandfather and his grandson. A real winner.—Maryann H. Owen, Children's Literature Specialist, Mt. Pleasant, WI
Although it hasn’t been long since Charley’s First Night (rev. 1/13)—it’s still snowing—the little dog is already an established family member. Now, Henry pens Grampa an invitation to meet Charley: “Bring a big suitcase and stay a long time and I’ll meet you at the station.” Soon Grampa’s leaving his book-lined home, but not without communicating his own qualms: “Is he friendly or fierce? I’ve never been friends with a dog before.” It doesn’t take long. Walking home from the train, Charley catches Grampa’s cap after it blows away, thus proving himself in classic storybook style; by bedtime, the two new friends are comfortably sharing a pillow. No surprises here, just a deliciously cozy vignette blessed with such artful Oxenbury touches as a crumpled paper on the floor to suggest that Grampa’s cautious letter is no first draft; Henry walking to the station on his own in a small British village, sheep in fields nearby; and Grampa asleep with his book and glasses within easy reach. A welcome sequel, to read aloud or alone. joanna rudge long

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