Grandad's Island (Hardcover)
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-- Chapter & Verse Book Club selection, February 2017, Redbery Books, Cable, Wisconsin— From Children's Literature for Adults Club (CLAC) - formerly Chapter & Verse
With subtlety and grace, Benji Davies paints a poignant and ultimately uplifting picture of loss.
At the bottom of Syd’s garden, through the gate and past the tree, is Grandad’s house. Syd can let himself in any time he likes. But one day when Syd comes to call, Grandad isn’t in any of the usual places. He’s in the attic, where he ushers Syd through a door, and the two of them journey to a wild, beautiful island awash in color where Grandad decides he will remain. So Syd hugs Grandad one last time and sets sail for home. Visiting Grandad’s house at the bottom of the garden again, he finds it just the same as it’s always been — except that Grandad isn’t there anymore. Sure to provide comfort to young children struggling to understand loss, Benji Davies’s tale is a sensitive and beautiful reminder that our loved ones live on in our memories long after they’re gone.
About the Author
Benji Davies divides his time between directing animation and illustrating children’s books, including the Bizzy Bear series for Nosy Crow, an imprint of Candlewick Press. He lives in London.
Davies’s elegantly rough illustrations, evoking a child’s paintings, tap into the imagination of death with little fuss, and his story declines to offer kids instruction on how to feel. Indeed, “Grandad’s Island” doesn’t mention death at all, but is deeply in touch with the ways in which loss and abundance commingle in the mind, correcting and assuaging each other.
—The New York Times Book Review
The creator of The Storm Whale (2014) offers another thoughtful picture book guaranteed to spark discussion...Recommend to young families dealing with loss, especially those who prefer to gloss over the scientific realities.
In this gentle, magic-tinged allegory, Grandad lives in a small house back behind Syd's home. After opening a "big metal door" in Grandad's attic, the two are transported to the deck of a giant ocean liner, which towers over the neighboring buildings in their seaside town...As with The Storm Whale, Davies offers a story of loneliness and togetherness distinguished by understated, deeply felt emotions and a nautical milieu.
This book is innovative and useful as a way to talk about the idea of loss—without ever referring to actual death. Parents and educators can use this to talk with a child about how it’s normal to be sad and miss loved ones...Cheerful, brightly colored illustrations make this a fine choice to use with the youngest of audiences. Since death isn’t directly specified, this title also works for when a child’s loved one is moving far away. An excellent vehicle to gently approach the topic of loss. Recommended for collections needing these types of materials.
—School Library Journal
Grandad's Island by British author-illustrator Benji Davies (The Storm Whale; Bizzy Bear series) celebrates a close grandfather-grandson relationship with warmth and style. Whether it's read as a picture book about love, loss or just missing someone who isn't around anymore, it's a charmer. Cheerful cinematic spreads invite young readers into all sorts of intriguing places, from a cozy attic full of curiosities like a turtle teapot, to a vast ship's deck, to the deep jungle of an island paradise.
—Shelf Awareness for Readers
A resonant, layered tale that will only gain in texture as its readers get older.
Loss is reimagined, gently, in this story of the sweet, rich relationship between a boy and his grandfather who stay connected even when they are apart.
—The Boston Globe
Grandad’s Island provides a gentle and affirming look at how those we love will always be with us, no matter if they are near or far away.
—Books to Borrow...Books to Buy (Kendal A. Rautzhan column)
Grandad’s Island is a heartbreakingly beautiful story. I highly recommend this book.
Wistful, tender, and lovely.