Rating: ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐ Ages: 4 – 8 years

My kids absolutely adore their granddad. He has taught them to fish, make pizza, and he lets them sit on grandma’s horse bareback while leading them around.

He says yes to things that grandma says no to … like a second helping of dessert!

However, he is now at an age that goes hand in hand with health problems and the realization that he won’t be around forever.

When I read Grandad’s Island, my breath caught in my throat and I just knew I had to read this book to the kids!

Grandad’s Island is a beautiful story that deals with the emotional topic of losing a grandparent in a very subtle way.

It’s interesting to note that when I did read this book to the kids, they didn’t associate the story with death in the way that adults do. The beauty of this book is its subtleness, allowing for gentle discussion without forcing the subject initially.

‘’At the bottom of Syd’s garden, through the gate and past the tree, was Grandad’s house.’’

Syd visits Grandad one day but can’t find him in the usual places in the house, eventually finding him in the attic that was full of old boxes and things that Grandad had collected from around the world.

Grandad pulls a sheet down from the wall, revealing a big metal door. ‘’After you, Syd,’’ he said. They find themselves standing on the deck of a very tall ship with rooftops all around.

Sailing for miles, they at last reach a jungle filled island. Grandad doesn’t need his walking stick here.  They set to work building a shelter and explore the island high and low. Syd and Grandad have a lot of fun, even sliding down a waterfall.

Grandad sits down with Syd and tells him that he’s thinking of staying. Syd asks him if he will feel lonely and as Grandad stands smiling at the beautiful jungle, friendly animals, and comforts from home such as an old wind up music box and a chair set up with tea and a reading book, he replies ‘’No … no, I don’t think I will.’’

Syd hugs Grandad one last time, he would miss him very much. ‘’The journey seemed much longer without Grandad.  But Syd steered the ship safely home.’’

Went Syd went back around to Grandad’s house the next day, it was just the same as it had always been except Grandad wasn’t there anymore.

A tropical bird taps on the window, leaving an envelope.  Inside is a picture of Grandpa, happy on his island with his new animal friends.

Benji Davies celebrates the close relationship between grandparent and grandchild with warmth and style, dealing with the subject of loss very subtly.  The illustrations are wonderful with bright cinematic spreads that add to the message.

A difficult subject told with great sensitivity and depth, Grandad’s Island is a beautiful story that deals with the emotional topic of losing a grandparent in a very subtle way.


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