Cover image for The year with Grandma Moses
The year with Grandma Moses
Nikola-Lisa, W.
Personal Author:
First edition.
Publication Information:
New York : Henry Holt, [2000]

Physical Description:
32 pages : color illustrations ; 24 x 29 cm
A collection of paintings and memoirs by the American folk artist describing the seasons and their related activities in rural upstate New York.
Reading Level:
AD 920 Lexile.
Program Information:
Accelerated Reader AR MG 4.6 0.5 45257.

Reading Counts RC 3-5 4.9 3 Quiz: 27316 Guided reading level: NR.
Format :


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Item Holds
ND237.M78 A4 2000 Juvenile Non-Fiction Central Closed Stacks

On Order



A unique introduction to an important American Artist.

When Grandma Moses looks out her window,
she sees a world of spotted cows,
a world of thunderstorms, rain-drenched fields,
and hand-washed laundry flapping in the wind.

This stunning picture book introduces children of all ages to the work of legendary artist Grandma Moses. Beginning in the spring -- full of thunderstorms and scenes of laundry flapping in the wind -- Nikola-Lisa's lyrical text captures the seasons on a farm and highlights the simple yet wonderful moments depicted in Grandma Moses's folk art paintings. The experience is made all the more intimate by Grandma Moses's journal excerpts, which give readers a first-hand look at what inspired the artist.

With its paintings and descriptions of hay rides in the fall, ice-skating in winter, and flower-gathering in the spring and summer, The Year with Grandma Moses celebrates an important American artist and shares her special world with others.

When Grandma Moses (born Anna Mary Robertson) was in her seventies, her paintings were discovered by a New York art collector. By her 100th birthday, Grandma Moses had become one of the most well-known and beloved artists of her time. She died in 1961 at the age of 101.

Author Notes

W. Nikola-Lisa , a professor of education at National-Louis University in Illinois, is the author of numerous picture books, including One Hole in the Road. He lives with his family in Chicago, Illinois.

Reviews 3

Booklist Review

Gr. 2-5, younger for reading aloud. This series of 13 paintings by Grandma Moses celebrates the seasons in rural America. From spring to spring, her paintings evoke hard work and simple pleasures in a way that is full of heart but free of sentimentality. The author casts his readership net wide by incorporating two parallel texts--one is his own narrative aimed at the picture-book set, the other, which shares excerpts from the painter's memoir, is better suited to middle-graders. His narrative loosely links the images in a seasonal cycle of harvests and sleigh rides, while Moses' reminiscences offer crisp details of doing laundry, feeding the farmhands, and sugaring maple syrup. The excerpts, drawn from both her childhood and adult years, clash with the book's one-year framework, and the combination of all three elements is awkward. The autobiographical selections offer delicious detail, but the pictures of country life during the changing seasons are the real attraction here. --Randy Meyer

Publisher's Weekly Review

Grandma Moses's own words, excerpted from her memoirs, and reproductions of her evocative primitive paintings provide a solid foundation for this appealing volume. The excerpts appear on the left of each spread on an oval, darkened to appear like parchment, opposite a related painting on the right. Less strong is the book's third component, which appears on the right below each painting: Nikola-Lisa's (One Hole in the Road) simplistic and uneven interpretation of the artist's environment and lifestyle, which reads as a run-on commentary more or less thematically tied to each piece of art. He starts out describing Moses's world objectively ("When Grandma Moses looks out her window, she sees a world of spotted cows, and rolling hills, and white picket fences"), then abruptly gives the narrator a role in the goings-on ("With Christmas around the corner,/ we'll have lots of fun outdoors,/ and indoors, tooÄ/ opening presents, playing games,/ and feasting on food/ we've helped prepare"). Yet his captionlike account succeeds in creating a through-line for the paintings, which youngsters may appreciate. Aimed at considerably more advanced readers, Moses's own writing effortlessly brings children back to the era of her childhood as she describes the diversions of each season. Ages 4-10. (Oct.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

School Library Journal Review

PreS-Gr 5-Scenes of laundry flapping, trees in bloom, maple sugaring, families in fields, a Christmas parlor-this is the worldview of folk-artist Anna Mary Robertson Moses. In the author's note, Nikola-Lisa writes that he was struck by the cyclical nature of her visual record and has arranged this picture book seasonally, starting with spring. Each double-page spread includes a full-color painting on the right, accompanied by the author's brief commentary. Related excerpts from Moses's memoirs are printed in sepia ovals on a cream background on the left. Her words inform older readers about the routines, pleasures, and disappointments of her childhood farm life while the author's text offers a starting point for looking at the pictures with young children. The paintings convey a quiet joy, an ever-changing light, and the beauty of nature (the artist's own brand of pointillism is quite effective at depicting snow, sheer curtains, and tiny buds). An opening color photograph of Moses at her painting table speaks volumes. Nikola-Lisa's careful selections and spare approach effectively convey the spirit of this self-taught, spirited woman. For more information, readers may consult Zibby Oneal's Grandma Moses (Puffin, 1987). It would be interesting to pair The Year with Grandma Moses with Barbara Cooney's Miss Rumphius (Viking, 1982).-Wendy Lukehart, Dauphin County Library, Harrisburg, PA (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.