Bob Graham is a Kate Greenaway-winning author-illustrator who has written and illustrated many acclaimed children's picture books including How to Heal a Broken Wing, Max, Jethro Byrde: Fairy Child and April Underhill: Tooth Fairy. His 2011 title, A Bus Called Heaven, is endorsed by Amnesty International UK and was the winner of the 2012 Children's Book Council of Australia Picture Book of the Year Award - a prize Bob has won an unprecedented six times. He lives in Melbourne, Australia.
K-Gr 2-- When Mr. and Mrs. Summers and their children move into their new home, they are warned by neighborhood children about the reclusive, literally gray, man who lives next door. It is rumored that Mr. Wintergarten keeps a wolflike dog and a salt-water crocodile in his house. When Rose's ball goes over the fence into his thorny, dark yard, her mother suggests that they take cookies and flowers to him when they go to retrieve it. Summoning her courage, Rosie asks the dour old man for the ball. After refusing, Mr. Wintergarten finally relents and he and his garden brighten and flower. Graham's line and wash cartoons supply humor, movement, and expression to the understated text. End papers depict before and after aerial views of both homes. Readers quickly discern the enormous changes and will understand the characters' progress in this none-too-subtle, but warm and engaging tale. --Maria B. Salvadore, District of Columbia Public Library
Although the welcome wagon is nowhere in sight when the Summers family moves into their new house, the chipper clan quickly plants a garden and soon feels right at home. But oldest daughter Rose is curious about the spooky house next door where ``mean and horrible'' Mr. Wintergarten lives. Word on the street is that he has a ``dog like a wolf'' and a ``saltwater crocodile'' that he rides at night that ``GETS YA!'' Undaunted by the rumors, Rose and her mother venture through the old man's gate to retrieve Rose's lost ball--and to deliver cookies and flowers. Mr. Wintergarten's gruff attitude masks the fact that Rose's kind gestures have begun to melt his heart, and soon the neighborhood has a new friend. With humor and insight, Graham's text authentically conveys the language and emotions of childhood. Without being heavy-handed, Rose challenges some confining stereotypes in the name of humanity. Graham's bright ink-and-watercolor illustrations portray the Summers family as a likable hippie brood--Mom wears a Gandhi-like robe with sandals and a headband; the children are named Rose, Faith and Blossom--and Rose's dot-eyed innocence speaks volumes. Ages 4-up. (May)
A simple classic tale, expertly told. * Books For Your Children
Heart-warming. * The Oxford Times *
"Bob Graham is in a lass of his own; he is a national treasure." * The Sunday morning Herald *