As a girl in New York City, Knight Kalt loved spending weekends with her grandfather Toppy--the legendary artist Charles R. Knight, whose pioneering, dramatic murals of dinosaurs and other prehistoric creatures captured the public's imagination. Together, they peruse the displays of his work in the American Museum of Natural History--"She feels the magic of traveling to an ancient world," write Kerley (A Home for Mr. Emerson) and Knight Kalt--and visit the Central Park Zoo, where Toppy's commentary on tigers and other animals always draws a crowd. Knight Kalt also mingles with interesting people in Toppy and grandmother Nonnie's apartment; watches her grandfather, his eyesight weak since childhood, daub at his work; and wonders what she will grow to enjoy as much as he loves "drawing and painting animals." Matching the text's affection is gouache art by Stephens (Mr. Flux), which conveys how a larger-than-life figure takes shape in a child's mind's eye, and incorporates Knight's actual paintings and drawings. A wealth of detail (including Toppy's fascinating backstory) is handled with the lightest of touches, and final pages include author notes, source information, and photographs. Ages 4-8. (Sept.)Copyright 2018 Publishers Weekly, LLC Used with permission.
K-Gr 3--Rhoda loves to visit her grandparents every weekend. She and her grandfather, Toppy, spend time at their favorite places. At the American Museum of Natural History, Toppy shows Rhoda through the museum where they stop and look at Toppy's paintings. Rhoda's grandfather turns out to be Charles R. Knight, world-renowned wildlife artist. Rhoda loves to listen to him talk about the animals he's studied and painted. He's as good a storyteller as he is a painter. As a boy, Toppy loved to draw and he spent hours learning about animals so he could draw them. Despite poor eyesight that worsened over time, he never gave up on his dream. After their time at the museum, Rhoda and Toppy go back to the house to have dinner with Grandma Nonnie. Toppy works on his book about drawing animals. Even though he can barely see, he continues to pursue the craft he loves so dearly. Combining the talents of Kerley with the experiences of Kalt, along with the art of Stephens and Knight himself, makes for a powerful book. VERDICT Not only is this a story of the tender relationship between a grandfather and granddaughter, it's also a powerful story of following one's dreams and passions, despite life's challenges. A first purchase for most libraries.--Heidi Grange, Summit Elementary School, Smithfield, UTCopyright 2018 School Library Journal, LLC Used with permission.