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Grant and Tillie Go Walking

Written by Monica Kulling

Illustrated by Sydney Smith

  • 32 Pages
  • 9781554984466
  • 8.125" x 10.25"
  • Reading age from 4 to 8
  • JUVENILE FICTION / Art & Architecture
  • JUVENILE FICTION / Biographical / United States



Publication Date August 01, 2015

Grant Wood believed that to be a real artist, he had to live in Paris. But once he got there, he realized that to be a great painter he needed to return to the people and places—and even animals—that he knew and loved the best.

Inspired by the life of artist Grant Wood, this is the sensitively imagined story of the great American painter and a cow named Tillie. Skillfully mixing fact with fiction, Monica Kulling’s text explores the making of an artist, while Sydney Smith’s illustrations echo Grant Wood’s own techniques. The result is a gently wise picture book that will encourage young readers and artists to trust the love that is sometimes only found close to home.

Includes an author’s note that provides biographical information about Grant Wood.

Selected for the CCBC Best Books for Children and Teens 2016


Monica Kulling

Monica Kulling is the author of numerous books for children. Her most recent books are Mary Anning’s Curiosity, illustrated by Melissa Castrillon, and Alexander Hamilton: From Orphan to Founding Father, illustrated by Valerio Fabbretti. She is also the author of On Our Way to Oyster Bay: Mother Jones and Her March for Children’s Rights, illustrated by Felicita Sala. Monica’s books have been nominated for many awards, including the Norma Fleck Award for Canadian Children’s Non-Fiction. Her other picture books include Happy Birthday, Alice Babette; Grant and Tillie Go Walking and The Tweedles Go Electric. Monica Kulling lives in Toronto.

Sydney Smith

Sydney Smith was born in rural Nova Scotia and has been drawing from an early age. Since graduating from NSCAD University, he has illustrated multiple children’s books, including the highly acclaimed wordless picture book Sidewalk Flowers, conceived by Jon Arno Lawson, which won a Governor General’s Award, was named a New York Times Best Illustrated Children’s Book and has been long-listed for the Kate Greenaway Medal. He is also the illustrator of Grant and Tillie Go Walking by Monica Kulling and The White Cat and the Monk by Jo Ellen Bogart, both highly acclaimed. Sydney has received a number of other awards for his illustrations, including the Lillian Shepherd Memorial Award for Excellence in Illustration. He now lives in Toronto and works in a shared studio space in Chinatown.


"This fanciful story represents the power of friendship and the role of the familiar in the creative process." Kirkus Reviews

"Using watercolours, ink, and a toothbrush, illustrator Sydney Smith mimics Grant’s style, bringing Kulling’s story of friendship, home, and ambition to life with an understated softness." National Post

"One of the best children's books written on the story of painting. Highly recommended." CM Magazine

"The tender message to draw inspiration from the things you love still holds true in this mixture of fact and fiction." School Library Journal

"A heartfelt, visually pleasing, and informative read inspired by an artist’s love for his home." Booklist Online