Grandad's Island

Grandad's Island

by Benji Davies

Hardcover

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Overview

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.

Editorial Reviews

The New York Times Book Review - Mark Levine

…gently respects both the reality of death and the reality of children's inner lives…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.

Publishers Weekly

03/14/2016
When faced with death, children are often told, for better or worse, that the person is in a better place now. In the case of a boy named Syd, he knows for a fact that his Grandad is somewhere pretty spectacular. 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. A quick journey takes Syd and Grandad to an island dense with jungle foliage and populated by colorful birds, orangutans, and wonders to discover. Together, they refurbish a raggedy shack on stilts and splash around below a waterfall, after which Grandad tells Syd, "I'm thinking of staying," and the boy returns home. "The journey seemed much longer without Grandad," writes Davies. As with The Storm Whale, Davies offers a story of loneliness and togetherness distinguished by understated, deeply felt emotions and a nautical milieu. Ages 4–8. Agent: Vicki Willden-Lebrecht, Bright Literary Agency. (Apr.)

From the Publisher

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.
—Booklist Online

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.
—Publishers Weekly

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.
—USA Today

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.
—Chris Haughton

Wistful, tender, and lovely.
—Kirkus Reviews

School Library Journal

05/01/2016
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

Kirkus Reviews

2016-02-02
Syd and his grandfather share a world of imagination and endless, boundless love. Their houses face each other across their backyards, and Syd can use the key under the flowerpot. On this visit they travel together on a huge ship, launched from the attic, to a wondrous island filled with colorful, welcoming creatures, "a most perfect place." Grandad decides to stay there, and Syd returns home alone. The next day he enters the quiet house, missing his grandfather. There's a tap on the attic window, and there on the ledge is a note with a smiling picture of Grandad surrounded by friendly animals. Davies' brightly hued, digitally created illustrations are sharply delineated and filled with myriad details that hint at magical qualities. The title page depicts Syd admiring Grandad's sketches of birds and flora and a painting of a large rocky island, all of which are seen again as the subtly layered tale unfolds. Interpretations completely depend on the age and experience of readers. The youngest children will take it at face value as a sweet story of a boy whose grandfather is happy in a faraway place. Older children and adults may see a subtler message of coping with the loss of a loved one who lives on in special, joyful memories. Both characters are white with dots for eyes; Grandad's whiskers frame his face from below, and Syd's curly red hair frames his from above. Wistful, tender, and lovely. (Picture book. 5-9)

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780763690052
Publisher: Candlewick Press
Publication date: 04/12/2016
Pages: 32
Sales rank: 1,134,900
Product dimensions: 11.10(w) x 9.60(h) x 0.50(d)
Age Range: 4 - 8 Years

Customer Reviews