Grandpa Green by Lane Smith

  Contributed By Stories Of Us  , ,     , , , , , , , , , ,

March 17, 2017

A timeless story of family history, legacy, and love. Grandpa Green wasn't always a gardener. He was a farmboy and a kid with chickenpox and a soldier and, most of all, an artist. In this captivating picture book, readers follow Grandpa Green's great-grandson into a garden he created, a fantastic world where memories are handed down in the fanciful shapes of topiary trees and imagination recreates things forgotten.

  • Minimum Reading Time: 15 mins
  • Est. Time for All Activities: 30 mins
  • Yields: Read, Talk, Sing


Get the Book

Hong Kong Public Libraries


SING - Old Macdonald Had a Farm

TALK - Transition to Book

READ - Story Time 15 Minutes

TALK - Discuss the Story


Preview the book before reading it with your child. Flip through the pages. Notice the pictures. Can you make any connections between the story or pictures that connect to your child’s real life experiences?

Select a designated read-aloud area. This area should be inviting and comfortable. Try to use the same area every time to build a routine.

Add Reading Sweeteners. Tell your child this is their “special time” with you. You can read with your child sitting next to you, or in your lap, make sure they can see the pictures as you read-aloud.

Avoid Problem Peppercorns – For the 15 mins you are engaged in the storytelling recipe remove any and all distractions that might compromise your time with your child.




1#Old Macdonald Had a Farm (Lyrics can be found in the video description box.) The first time through, the song plays with words and a voice singing with you. The second time through, you and your child sing by yourself.

2While singing the song, add hand claps, and silly gestures to the words.

  • Move your head from left to right as you sing “Old MacDonald had a farm”
  • Wave your hands in the air during the E-I-E-I-O part.
  • Change the sound of your voice
  • Add a little dance

TALK (Transition from singing to book reading)

1Introduce the book you are going to read (Grandpa Green by Lane Smith). Tell your child this story has a child who grew up on a farm, just like Old MacDonald.

2Hold up the book and show the cover - read the title and authors name: let your child know that someone just like you and me wrote this book.

3Story Seasonings: Point to Grandpa on the cover – ask “who do you think this is?" Point to the child on the cover “who do you think this is?”

4Transition into reading the story by saying “Well let’s find out.”

READ 15 Minutes

1Add a generous amount of Story Seasoning. Read in a lively, engaging way, using voices, gestures, and expressions can enhance understanding.

2#Really: When you read the word “really” add an extra really, and drag out the sound “Reeeaeaaalllllllllllllly” long time ago.

3#Computer: As you read this line “before computers, mobile phones, or television...” point to the actual device in you home. Example “before computers, mobile phones: * STOP* point to your television. Continue reading. Avoid holding up your cellphone as it may be a distraction from the reading. And direct your child’s attention away from the book.

4#Chicken Pox: Introduces the word Chicken Pox, if your child asks what this means, stop the story and explain to them. IF they do not ask you, then keep reading.

5#Kiss: Make a loud and long kissing sound when you read “he stole his first kiss”. This is a great time to steal a kiss from your child on the cheek. Or pretend you’re going to kiss them by making a loud kissing sound and puckering your lips together.

6#Horticulture: Introduces the word horticulture, if your child asks what this means, stop the story and explain to them. IF they do not ask you, then keep reading. If you mispronounce this word, that's no problem! We will review it later in the recipe.

7#War: Lower your voice and read the word “war” in a way that signals it's an important word, it's a sad word. You want to convey that the word “war” carries significant meaning.

8#him: Exaggerate your voice when you read “him,” in this line: “At least to hear him tell it.

9#Branches: Ask your child to trace the branches while you say “old”. Try to stretch out the word while they trace the tree with their fingers. Example “OooooOoooOOooooooolllllllllldddddd" – exaggerate your voice to sound like an old person.

10 “Oh look there's a plane” and that's a ________________" (let the child fill in the blank with an answer of their own). Repeat until you’ve named everything or the child loses interest.

11#Last Page: Sprinkle your child with hugs, high-fives, compliments, and affection right after saying “The End”.

12Compliment your child on something they did well during the read aloud. How they participated, how they laughed, how they listened. Pick anything, and celebrate them for it.


1Discuss the story with your child and explain what horticulture means. Add Parent Sugar and Attention Vanilla – show a keen interest in what they are saying and give your child eye contact throughout the discussion.

2Share with them what you liked most about the story. Then ask them what they liked most about the story.

3Point to the pictures of various plants in the book, share with the child which plant shapes were your favorite and explain why. Ask the child which plant was their favorite, and find out why.

4Go to the page with the word #Horticulture:. Explain this word to your child. Horticulture is the art or science of growing vegetables, flowers, fruits, or ornamental plants.


Macmillan Publisher




ALA Notable Children's Books, Capitol Choices Noteworthy Titles for Children and Teens, GA Picture Storybook Award ML, Vermont Red Clover Children's Choice Award Master List, American Library Association Notable Children's Books, Caldecott Honor Book, Vermont Red Clover Children's Choice A ML, Nautilus Book Award - Silver

Star Rating

4.4 (Amazon); 4.1 (Goodreads)


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