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Best new books for young kids

Turn your preschooler through second grader onto this season's top new page turners.

By Susan Freinkel

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Grandpa Green

By Lane Smith

Ages: 5 and up

Grandpa Green used to remember everything. Now he sometimes forgets, but luckily his garden never does. This charming and poignant story follows Grandpa Green's great grandson through the garden where the old man has carved memories of key events in his life — large and small — into fantastic topiaries. Grandpa has shaped trees to reflect growing up on a chicken farm, his time at war, meeting the love of his life, even his fourth-grade bout with chicken pox. (That would be the topiary with the red berries.) The artwork is exquisite: the boy and old man are drawn with simple, expressive lines, while the trees are rendered in lush watercolors, oil paints and digital art.

Bottom line: Grandpa Green is a perfect book for reading with a grandparent or special elder.

Susan Freinkel is the author of Plastic: A Toxic Love Story and has written for the New York Times, Discover, Smithsonian, Real Simple, and other national publications.

Comments from GreatSchools.org readers

11/28/2011:
"Would you take a look at my book, "Monsters Do Ugly Things", as a possible add-on to this list? "
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