Review: Every Wrinkle Has a Story

Every Wrinkle Has a Story

by David Grossman, illustrated by Ninamasina, translated by Jessica Cohen

Groundwood Books, 2024

Category: Picture Books
Reviewer: Belinda Brock

Buy at

Every Wrinkle Has a Story opens with a startling question from a curious grandson to his grandfather. The grandson—Yotam—is asking about the wrinkles on Grandpa Amnom's face. How did he get them? How do they feel? The story is essentially a long conversation between grandfather and grandson that takes place at Aviva's Cafe, where they are affectionately known as "the grandpa who laughs and the boy who draws." Grandpa explains that some of his wrinkles come from getting older and others from both happy and sad things he's lived through. Yotam listens, thinks, and then views the other people around him through that lens. Finally, he expresses his feelings and discoveries though his colorful, joyous art.

Grossman's minimalism and word choice are appropriate for his intended audience—children aged three to six. Ninamasina's uncluttered watercolor art perfectly suits the author's style. Illustrations, primarily in luminous shades of blue, reflect lines and wrinkles in nature, such as ripples in the ocean and tree roots. Sad memories appear to be encapsulated in teardrop shapes. A thread suggests connection and there is a sense throughout of all living things being linked. At the end, the illustrator uses a different color palette to display the brilliant colors and energy Yotam sees in the world.

Award-winning Israeli novelist David Grossman has crafted a quiet book, in the best sense. It is a meditation on growing, changing, and aging. The people (and animals) we love and the experiences we have all leave deep impressions on our hearts and faces.

A positive depiction of an intergenerational relationship is always a welcome addition to children's literature and of course, will greatly appeal to grandparents (at least, those willing to discuss their wrinkles). This book could serve as an easy entree into recounting family stories. Every Wrinkle Has a Story could also spark discussions of other types of self-acceptance.

The grandfather (and his late wife), grandson, and proprietor of the eponymous cafe all have Hebrew names and are presumably Jewish. The book revolves around the passing of stories from an older generation to the younger and shows a reverence for life—core features of Jewish culture; however, there is no explicit Jewish content in this book.

Are you interested in reviewing books for The Sydney Taylor Shmooze? Click here!

Reviewer Belinda Brock earned a MS in Literacy and Language from University of Chicago and her background is in teaching and educational publishing. She authored GG and Mamela, the first children’s book to address hospice care. Her essays have been featured on Kveller, Jewish Women’s Archive, and HuffPost.