Growing an Artist: The Story of a Landscaper and His Son by John Parra is a neat book. I was not sure what to expect, but it was not what I got. I really liked this book. It is sentimental and inspiring. And has lovely illustrations that are fun, cozy, and active.
Parra’s story is based on his growing up in California and helping his father in his landscaping business. Parra’s young boy of the story observes the things around him. He notices people his father works with and the people whom he works for. And you see the places and the things his father works on. All of this comes together and shows how the father can make lovely landscapes for his clients. The artist in young Parra comes out with him drawing those people and things in his sketchbook. Plus, his drawings help his father design the landscaping ideas to begin with.
There is not a lot of “action” but there is a lot to see and read. The text and illustrations are complimentary and grab your attention. They are not “real” but the unique combination of realistic and cartoon-like makes it classically leaning and modern at the same time. I liked the father-son dynamic, told from the son. And the afterwards Parra includes tells more of the story of himself and his father. This is just as interesting as the quick snapshots of what the story includes.
While the book is aimed at older readers, the younger ones can read the illustrations. The afterwards helps this book grow with your child, as when they are ready for a bit of a biography, it is waiting.