Abuelo by Arthur Dorros, illustrated by Raul Colon
A boy and his grandfather spend time together riding horses and camping. They have adventures outdoors losing the trail and even facing a mountain lion. His grandfather taught him to stand strong like a tree. Then one day the boy moved with his family to the city, leaving his grandfather behind. The city was very different. The stars were hard to see, but they were the same stars. The boy learned to use what his grandfather taught him in the countryside. He even stood up to a bully on the first day of school, standing strong as a tree.
Told in graceful free verse, this book reads quickly rather like a brisk horseback ride. Completely controlled and peppered with Spanish, the book evokes the freedom of the countryside and also the lessons of strength being taught across generations.
Colon’s illustrations evoke the differences between the country and the city. The open freedom of the countryside is contrasted against the constraints of the city, yet the sky ranges wide above both and there is freedom when riding your bike just as when riding your horse.
Free verse mingles with the freedom of the range in this multi-generational title, a perfect masculine accompaniment to Dorros’ Abuela. Appropriate for ages 4-6.
Reviewed from copy received from HarperCollins.