About the Author
James Stevenson has written and illustrated more than 100 books for children. In 40 years at the New Yorker, he has published more than 2,000 cartoons and covers, as well as numerous written pieces. His illustrated column, “Lost and Found New York,” frequently appears on the op-ed page of the New York Times.
Hometown:New York's Upper East Side, Key West, and Martha's Vineyard
Date of Birth:February 12, 1938
Place of Birth:Elizabeth, New Jersey
Education:B.S. in education, New York University, 1961
Read an Excerpt
Grandma rented a house at the beach. Yesterday we drove there. I got carsick. I almost always get carsick if the ride takes more than an hour. Under an hour, I'm okay. The Great One doesn't get it. She says, "That doesn't make any sense." "It makes sense to me," I told her. "A person either gets carsick or he doesn't," she said. "Look at meI don't get carsick, which makes me a good traveler." "Does not!" I shouted. "Does too!" she shouted back. "Mom, aren't I a good traveler?" Mom was driving. Dad was snoozing in the seat next to her. "You're both good travelers," Mom said. "But if you had to choose one of us to take on a trip, wouldn't you rather take the one who doesn't puke every time he gets in the car?" the Great One asked. "No fair!" I called. "I don't puke every time." "Children," Mom said. "I'm trying to concentrate on the road." When we got to the beach, Grandma took us shopping while Mom and Dad unpacked. We're staying for a week. A week is a long time. Long enough to choose your favorite breakfast cereal. Mine is Cream of Wheat because it's white. I only like white foods. TheGreat One doesn't care what color her food is. She chose Cheerios. At the supermarket we followed Grandma down the Fun-in-the-Sun aisle. She tossed a tube of sunscreen into our cart. The Great One ran ahead to a display of Boogie boards. "I've always wanted a Boogie board," she told Grandma. "I could have so much funin the ocean if only I had one." She looked through the stack of boards. "Oh, this one is so cool!" She held up a purple board. "Isn't this one cool, Grandma?" It had a picture of a lizard on it. "You think it will be okay with your mom and dad?" Grandma asked. "Oh, yes!" the Great One said. "I'm a good swimmer. You know what a good swimmer I am." "Well, thenlet's get it," Grandma said. The Great One threw her arms around Grandma. "You're the best grandma in the history of the world!" Grandma laughed. "Let's hope you think so the next time I say no." Then she looked at me. "Would you like a Boogie board, Jake?" "Don't waste your money," the Great One said. "He won't use it." "Yes, I will!" I said. I chose a yellow board with a wolf's face on it. The next day, before we headed for the beach, the Great One said, "I hope the waves are big today." Then she looked right at me and said, "I take that back. I hope they're huge!" At the beach Dad set up the umbrella and opened the chairs. Grandma spread out the blanket while Mom reached into her bag for the new sunscreen. "You first, Abigail," she said to the Great One. "Why do I have to get sunscreened first?" the Great One asked. "I thought you like to go first," I said. The Great One gave me one of her looks. When Mom was done with us, the Great One grabbed her Boogie board and raced down to the ocean. Dad followed her. I followed Dad. When I reached wet sand, I stopped. The waves weren't huge. But they weren't small, either. I watched as the Great One paddled out on her Boogie board. When she got far enough, she turned back and waved to Dad. Then she watched over her shoulder untiljust before the next wave started. When it did, she was on her board riding in to shore. Then she did it again. And again. She didn't care if her face got wet or if she fell off her board, or even if she went under a wave. Nothing stopped her. When I got tired of watching, I started digging a hole. I dug deeper and deeper until the ocean came up inside it. Then I sat in the hole. The water was warm. Warmer than in the ocean.