Finding the Right Notes: WHAT A BEAUTIFUL MORNING


Written by Arthur A. Levine
Illustrated by Katie Kath
Running Press Kids • Ages 4 to 8
$16.95 US • $21.99 CAN

Noah’s Grandpa is an energetic, operatic powerhouse of fun. He starts singing at sunrise with a booming tune to greet the day. He sings while he and Noah walk the dog, calling up songs for all weather and all occasions. There is a song for making (or burning) cinnamon French toast, and a song for tuna salad without celery. No wonder Noah adores spending time with his buoyant, upbeat Grandpa who always finds joy in the song of life.

But when Grandpa’s memories begin to fade, Noah is hurt and unsure how to respond. Grandma, ever patient and supportive, steps in to help Noah understand the nuances of his changing relationship with Grandpa. No surprise, a few simple notes provide a pathway for Noah and Grandpa to reconnect once again on the sunny side of life.

WABM 2016 006

If young readers do not know all the tunes referenced in Levine’s story, take this opportunity to introduce them to classics like “Oh, What a Beautiful Morning” from the musical Oklahoma! (as sung by the delightful Nathaniel Hackmannor “Suppertime” from You’re a Good Man Charlie Brown.


Katie Kath’s lightly layered illustrations play a beautiful lilting melody with delicate watercolors that highlight the joy and energy Grandpa and Noah share in good times.  Washing color from portions of the images subtly reinforces the fading of Grandpa’s memories in a visual language that even the youngest readers will grasp. Check out the activity page on Kath’s website for three terrific craft ideas to accompany the story.

To learn more about WHAT A BEAUTIFUL MORNING, visit the stops on its virtual tour featuring these fine blogs:

8/2 Flowering Minds

8/3 MomReadIt

8/4 Unpacking the POWER of Picture Books

8/5 Stacking Books

8/6 #Kidlit Book of the Day

8/8 Enjoy Embrace Learning

8/9 Unleashing Readers

8/10 Two Writing Teachers

8/12 Geo Librarian

8/13 Randomly Reading

From the publisher: WHAT A BEAUTIFUL MORNING is the touching story of a young boy who learns to accept his grandfather’s gradual memory loss and enjoy the fun, beautiful moments they still have together. Inspired by his relationship with his father, acclaimed publisher and editor Arthur A. Levine tackles the challenging subject of a deteriorating loved one with sensitivity, tender prose, and a powerful, uplifting message. Paired with Katie Kath’s vivid watercolor illustrations that carefully express each emotional detail, this book is a reassuring ode to how love can help us find even what we think is lost.


About Cathy Ballou Mealey

Children's book author, repped by Liza Fleissig of the Liza Royce Agency. Wife, mother, daughter, sister, alumna, autism advocate, book reviewer. Reach me via email at or Twitter @catballoumealey
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11 Responses to Finding the Right Notes: WHAT A BEAUTIFUL MORNING

  1. This is my kind of story! I really want to read this book. It sounds like a delightful intergenerational story about a boy dealing with his aging grandfather — something many children are dealing with. Great to see this story!

  2. mariagianferrari says:

    I know so many people who could use a story like this–thank you for sharing, Cathy!! Looking forward to reading it!!

    • I’m glad to spread the word about a book that will speak to lots of kids, parents and grandparents alike. The illustrations are especially sweet and add to the book’s poignant message. I hope you enjoy it Maria!

  3. This sounds like a wonderful book . I will definitely check it out. Thanks for telling me about it.

  4. Cathy – what a great choice. This book will surely help many families begin a discussion about an all-too-common illness that is difficult for children – and adults – to cope with and to understand. The illustrations are beautiful.

  5. I recently read this book and it is very touching. A wonderful story to share with families who are going through something similar.

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