Grandpa's Angel

Overview

With gentle visual humor, Jutta Bauer's simple story shows how Grandpa's charmed life may be due to someone special watching over him all along.

Grandpa loves to tell stories about his past. There was the time he was almost run over by a bus, the time he made a big dog cower with just one look, and all those scary street corners he passed by unscathed. From climbing the highest trees to surviving World War II and starting a family, Grandpa has led an unusually blessed life. But ...

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Overview

With gentle visual humor, Jutta Bauer's simple story shows how Grandpa's charmed life may be due to someone special watching over him all along.

Grandpa loves to tell stories about his past. There was the time he was almost run over by a bus, the time he made a big dog cower with just one look, and all those scary street corners he passed by unscathed. From climbing the highest trees to surviving World War II and starting a family, Grandpa has led an unusually blessed life. But maybe it was more than mere luck that kept him safe. . . .

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Editorial Reviews

Children's Literature
A young boy listens as his grandfather tells him about what seems to have been a charmed life. When he encounters typical and not-so-typical boyhood dangers during his sometimes wild exploits, "nothing could ever hurt me." He survives the Nazis, the stresses of war and post-war times, eventually marries, and has a "beautiful life." Although never mentioned in the text, the protecting angel of the title follows him through the single- and double-page illustrations. As the boy leaves his grandfather in his hospital bed, exiting out to enjoy a beautiful day, we see the angel moving outside to protect him. Whether one believes in guardian angels or not, the story is a charming and heart-warming piece of history as part of a family relationship. The simplicity of the sparse text is matched by the colored gouache and ink drawings with the sparest of contextual details. All we see of the hospital is the bed, complete with bedpan underneath. Humor prevails, primarily in the angel's protective interactions. Even the post-war scenes of hardship are not visualized grimly. And the angel is a comforting mother-like force. 2005 (orig. 2001), Candlewick Press, Ages 5 to 9.
—Ken Marantz and Sylvia Marantz
School Library Journal
Gr 3-6-An exquisite re-creation of an old man's life. The book begins as a boy visits his grandfather in the hospital ("Grandpa loved telling stories. He told me stories whenever I went to visit him-") and then moves into the man's narrative of his charmed life, a life, as the wonderful gouache-and-ink illustrations emphasize, protected by the actions of the stone angel that stood in the town square. His boyhood included encounters with Nazi storm troopers ("I was never a coward, although I didn't know how dangerous times were back then") and unimaginable losses ("One day, [his Jewish friend] disappeared. I never saw him again, which made me very sad"). Still, the elderly man concludes, "All in all, it's been a beautiful life." The book is very difficult to classify-the starkly poetic text is perfectly paired with illustrations that gently add details to the story. The artwork has the loose but accurate compassion of Quentin Blake's work, and, like Blake, Bauer expresses both humor and pathos. Michael Foreman's War Boy (Pavilion, 2000) describes an English childhood during World War II; Grandpa's Angel captures part of the German wartime experience. It is a book to savor for its magical humanity.-Kathleen Whalin, York Public Library, ME Copyright 2005 Reed Business Information.
Kirkus Reviews
From his hospital bed, an elderly man recounts his life story to his young grandson in this poignant narrative, first published in Germany. Nearing the end of his life, the man reviews all his narrow escapes from danger and the many hardships of his life, including his childhood and young adult years during WWII; his struggles for survival during the postwar period; and more pleasant times as a grandfather enjoying his little grandson. Though the man is not aware of his protector, each illustration shows his guardian angel shielding him from everything, often in amusing ways (for example, holding back a shark underwater or catching a falling brick just in time). Bauer's spare illustrations in ink and gouache provide a humorous but understated accompaniment to her similarly understated text. The angel is a grandmotherly figure painted in pale blue, who smiles and frowns and suffers along with her charge, and in the end, leaves the elderly man to begin protecting his grandson as his touching story concludes on a hopeful note. (Picture book. 5-10)
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780763627430
  • Publisher: Candlewick Press
  • Publication date: 7/12/2005
  • Pages: 48
  • Sales rank: 1,342,237
  • Age range: 3 months - 18 years
  • Product dimensions: 7.00 (w) x 8.12 (h) x 0.44 (d)

Meet the Author

Jutta Bauer is a writer, illustrator, artist, and animator who studied illustration at the Fachhochschule für Gestaltung (Higher College of Visual Art) in Hamburg, Germany. In addition to illustrating dozens of picture books, for many years she drew a comic strip for one of Germany's most widely read women's magazines. GRANDPA'S ANGEL was first published in Germany in 2001 and was nominated for the Deutscher Jugendliteraturpreis in 2002. It was recently made into a short animated film. Jutta Bauer lives with her son, Jasper, in Hamburg.
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