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Grandad's Island Hardcover – April 12, 2016
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From School Library Journal
K-Gr 2—Syd pays an ordinary visit to his grandfather's house, when Grandad shows him a mysterious metal door in the attic. Syd and Grandad walk through the door and are suddenly aboard a huge ship. They dock at an island, where Grandad and Syd explore and go swimming. Then Grandad breaks the news to Syd—he is thinking of staying on the island with his jungle animal friends. Syd hugs Grandad one last time and boards the huge ship back to the real world, alone. The next morning, Grandad's house is vacant and the metal door in the attic is gone. Then a toucan delivers a postcard to Syd from Grandad and the jungle animals. 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. It can also be read to explain to children how it might seem strange to see loved ones' old houses empty but that they are in a special place and still love them very much. 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. VERDICT An excellent vehicle to gently approach the topic of loss. Recommended for collections needing these types of materials.—Sara White, Seminole County Public Library, Casselberry, FL
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.
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.