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Saturday, 21 January 2017

Grandad's Island by Benji Davies

Of all the men in the world I'll admit to being one of the easier ones to get to cry. TV shows, films, plays, US presidential elections, they'll all manage to make me at some point.

Picture books, however, mostly don't. Until I read one particular book it had never even occurred to me that a book for 5 year olds would carry such emotion. That book (which i haven't yet written about here) was The Storm Whale in Winter by Benji Davies. When I first read that, the impact of a boy separated and then reunited with his dad had me blubbing somewhat. It's a lovely read, beautifully illustrated and I'm sure I'll get round to a proper post about it soon.

Grandad's Island was released before Storm Whale in Winter but we hadn't gotten round to reading it. I knew little about it, even though I'd seen it in bookshops for some time. I'd always thought the cover made it look a little twee (yes, I know, never judge a book by its cover). I like to read them all with an open mind and usually make sure the first full read is just me and Linus, so any surprises are shared.
The story is about a boy, Syd, who visits his grandad. Simple enough premise, but grandad isn't there. Finally grandad calls to Syd and reveals the, seemingly, magic utopian world he's living in. I'd rather not give a spoiler, however the back of the book sums it up quite nicely;

"A beautiful and comforting book that shows how those who are dear to us remain near to us - however far away they may seem."

The illustrations are lovely and vibrant, remarkably uplifting and conveying the right tone for the story. 

I know from personal experience the difficulties faced by parents and children when confronting loss of any kind. I also know that picture books work well in relating many areas of a young person's life. Grandad's Island is an excellent source to either deal with a current issue or have in your library to refer back to. A highly recommended book.

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