Reading/Interest Level: Preschool, Primary
Author: Philip C. Stead
Illustrator: Philip C. Stead
Publisher: Roaring Brook Press
This book will transport readers to the home of Philip Stead, where they can get a feel of what life in the country is like for him and his dog, Wednesday. We are first introduced to Philip’s Grandma Jane and her rooster quilt in a room that smells like maple syrup. She scares away a bear by her house, and Philip says that if Grandma Jane were a bird, she would be a hummingbird. When Philip moves to the country, things are different than in the city. There are cranes and eagles in the summer, and his dog barks at howling coyotes in the night. Then, in the fall, deer come to eat apples that have fallen off of Philip’s tree and Wednesday chases them away. Once winter is here, most of the animals are gone, and there is nothing but snow and the smell of maple syrup.
Stead is able to give a very clear representation of his life in the country through his lifelike artwork and descriptions. By describing it during each of the different seasons, he gives the reader an even stronger understanding of his life by helping them connect with it during any time of the year. Along with writing this book to show what his life is like now, Stead is also able to use this book to pay a beautiful tribute to his Grandma Jane. At the beginning he talks about all the memories he has of her, including her rooster quilt and the room that smells like maple syrup. By referencing these two things again at the end of his book, Stead is able to bring the story full circle back to his Grandma Jane. Having the quilt, now full of pictures of all the things he has described in the country, suggests that each of these things now remind him of his grandma. This book celebrates Stead’s memories, leading the reader to look at their own life and think of how their surroundings may influence their lives and thoughts.