Through the Looking Glass Children's Book Reviews

Following Grandfather

Following Grandfather

Rosemary Wells
Illustrator:  Christopher Denise 
For ages 7 to 9
Candlewick, 2012   ISBN: 978-0763650698

Jenny is a young mouse who has a very close relationship with her grandfather. Grandfather came to America as a stowaway in a ship, and he made a home, and then a business, for himself in Salvadore’s Spaghetti House. Grandfather’s restaurant was a great success, and now it is being run by Jenny’s parents, and Grandfather has taken over the job of taking care of Jenny. Together the two mice walk explore Boston and go to the seaside, and when Jenny is a “young lady,” Grandfather takes her to buy frock. He also teaches her to hold her head high, even when the Cabot Lodges and the other wealthy mice look down on her. Jenny may be “the child of humble cooks,” but she must always have whiskers that are as “straight as arrows.”

Jenny’s beloved grandfather teaches Jenny all kinds of valuable lessons and tells her wonderful stories. Then, out of the blue, Grandfather is gone. Mice from all over Boston attend Grandfather’s funeral, even the Cabot Lodges. Poor Jenny is so grief stricken that she cannot be comforted, much to her parents’ distress. She cannot imagine how she is supposed to go on without her grandfather.

Losing someone you love is always painful, but for the young such a loss can be devastating and incomprehensible. In this beautifully written and illustrated story, we come to appreciate how special Jenny’s grandfather is, and we see how the little mouse struggles to come to terms with her grief.