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When I Am Old With You

by Angela Johnson


Publishers Weekly :

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``When I am old with you, Grandaddy,' says a small black child, ``I will sit in a big rocking chair beside you and talk about everything.' And he does, rushing and tripping through all the activities they share--walking on the beach, riding the tractor, visiting friends. As in Johnson and Soman's Tell Me a Story, Mama , the success of this serene book depends on its portrayal of the relationship between a child and an adult. Although the repeated line ``when I am old with you' is unnecessarily coy, and the plotless text is somewhat static, the joy the two characters have in each other's company is richly evoked by Soman's vivid, burnished watercolors. Yellow halos of light surround the fireflies, a summer wind blows embroidered curtains through a farmhouse window, morning sun reflects on the water--but most beguiling are the faces of the child and his grandfather, which shine with warmth and love. Ages 4-7.

Copyright 1990 Cahners Business Information, Inc.
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School Library Journal :

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The bond between grandparent and grandchild transcends time, and sometimes transcends an adult's sense of logic, reaching a deeper level of truth. In this story, a small child imagines a future when he will be old with his Grandaddy and will sit beside him in a rocking chair and talk about everything. They will go fishing, drink cool water from a jug, and play cards ``till the lightning bugs shine in the trees.' The poignant reality that time will never allow these two to coexist at the same age is softened by the fact that they do not have to be the same age in order to share happy times. What the boy dreams of doing with his Grandaddy someday are the same things that they are doing now. This tender story is complemented by Soman's beautifully executed watercolors, which vibrate with life and love. The African-American child and grandfather are distinct individuals, yet also universal figures, recognizable to anyone who has ever shared the bond of family love across generations. --Anna DeWind, Milwaukee Public Library

Copyright 1990 Cahners Business Information, Inc.
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