This glowing picture book, by turns playful and poignant, portrays the tender relationship between a grandfather and granddaughter as they appreciate nature together over the years. They take their first walk in the woods when the little girl is barely old enough to toddle; their last when Grandfather can only shuffle along. Each walk brings a new discovery-a sneaky snake, flashing fireflies, teardrops on a spiderweb-and sometimes a lesson about saying good-bye. One day the girl walks alone, stronger because she learned from her grandfather how to be grateful for life's fleeting gifts.
Illustrated by Jason Cockcroft.
This story traces the lives of a girl and her grandfather as they grow and change over time. It begins with a description of their first walks together when the girl is just a toddler, highlighting their quests for dandelions and birds in the bushes. The girl is soon old enough to ask questions about what she sees. "What's that?" she queries as she sees a bumblebee, a snake, a squirrel, and a spider web. One day, the two find a grasshopper lying still in the leaves. The girl wonders what they can do. The grandfather replies, "We can say thank you and good-bye." They dig a hole and place the grasshopper inside, thanking the animal for its hops and bounces. As the years go by, they experience many other opportunities to say "thank you" and "good-bye," from the butterfly they find by the side of the road to the mouse in the snow to the firefly in the night. During their last walks together, Grandfather shuffles along holding the girl's hand. Soon, the girl walks alone. She remembers her Grandfather's lesson and reflects upon the gifts from him for which she is thankful how he kept her steady when she wasn't steady, how he let her run ahead when she was ready, how he shared the world of nature, and how he taught her the words to say at this sad time. Thank you and good-bye. Through an impressionistic style, the illustrations present the natural world with a brightness and clarity that lends to the joy of the relationship shared by the young girl and her grandfather. Plourde has also captured the physical aging of each character, providing a sense of time and growth. Honest and touching without being overly sentimental. 2003, Dutton Children's Books,