Can you whistle, Johanna? – Ulf Stark and Anna Höglund


    Can you whistle, Johanna? – Ulf Stark and Anna Höglund, Gecko Press, (9781776573257), c1995, 2021

Format: Hardcover

Rating:  1-5 (5 is an excellent or a Starred review) 5+

Genre: Realistic fiction

What did you like about the book? Ulf is telling his friend Berra about his visits with his grandfather where the two eat cake on his birthday and his grandfather will give him money and Ulf will give his Grandfather a big cigar.  Berra mumbles “I wish I had a grandfather too.” and “Why don’t I have a grandfather?”  Ulf says “I don’t know, but I do know where you can get one.”  The next day the boys go to the old people’s home.  They see an old man in a room, enter and Berra gives the old man a flower saying, “Here you are, Grandpa.”  “What’s this?  Am I your grandfather?”  “That’s right, said Berra, I’m here at last.”  The old man hugs Berra and says “My how you have grown.”  Thus begins this sweet story of old man Ned and Berra and their relationship. The two boys and Ned eat in the cafeteria, go on a picnic, fly a kite that Ned has made, celebrate Ned’s birthday and Ned teaches Berra how to whistle.

Illustrations are old-fashioned and simple, almost like child drawings. They appear to be colored pencil and sometimes crayons.

An ending you might expect, is bittersweet.

Anything you did not like about the book?  One of those rare perfect ones.

To whom would you recommend this book? If you have read Ulf Stark’s The Runaways, you will enjoy this one just as much.  It might also make a fun readaloud for 1st – 3rd graders and the discussions that would follow.

Who should buy this book? Public and elementary school libraries and fans of Ulf Stark.

Where would you shelve it?  J Fiction

Should we (librarians) put this on the top of our “to read” piles?  Yes!

Reviewer’s Name, Library (or school), City: Katrina Yurenka, Retired Librarian, Manager, Youth Services Book Review

Date of Review: 1/14/2021

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