Grandpa's Top Threes

Grandpa's Top Threes


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A young boy’s original game coaxes a grieving grandpa to reconnect with the world in a touching intergenerational story of love and resilience.

Henry loves talking with Grandpa, but Grandpa has stopped listening. Mom says to just give him time. But Henry wants to talk to Grandpa now. So Henry tries his favorite game: Top Threes. And something amazing happens: Grandpa starts talking again. Out of a tale of favorite sandwiches and zoo animals, outings and trains, emerges a moving story about love, loss, and the wonder of grannies and grandpas.

Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher

Well-paced and closely structured, this story works on every level, with Egnéus' watercolors showing a range of emotion and activity, balancing clutter with space...Peaceful and heartfelt.
—Kirkus Reviews

School Library Journal


PreS-Gr 2-The author/illustrator pair who created Lubna and Pebble present another gentle, emotionally rich book about grieving and loss. Henry doesn't understand why his grandpa works alone in the garden and won't talk to him. His mother says he needs time. To Grandpa's apparent chagrin, Henry begins sharing lists of his "top threes," for example, sandwiches and jellyfish. Slowly, as Henry quizzes him on his selections, the elderly man begins to open up. Grandpa initiates a fun day out, which culminates in a reflection revealing that the boy's Grannie has recently died. When asked about his "top three grannies," the widower shares his favorite memories of his deceased spouse. Meddour keeps the text brief and relatable to young readers. The words playfully float around the pages. Egneus's illustrations, rendered in watercolor assembled digitally, bloom on the pages in layers of depth. The colors and shades are multidimensional and lush, especially those in natural scenes, such as the lily pad-adorned pond by which Henry and Grandpa eat their top three sandwiches. The light, shadows, and reflections on this spread create a quiet, but nonetheless breathtaking image. Henry is freckled, sweatered, and lovable, while Grandpa is whiskered and adorned with a beanie. Their love for each other is evident in their expressions. VERDICT A tender story about grief, healing, and intergenerational families, this book can be used to open up conversations about how different people respond and react to loss. Recommended as a first purchase.-Clara Hendricks, Cambridge Public Library, MA

Kirkus Reviews

A gentle look at grief.

This quiet picture book starts with Henry, a little chatterbox, talking in a garden shed crowded with plants and implements. "But Grandpa was gardening. Again." Grandpa doesn't want to play trains or tell anyone what he wants for lunch. "Just give him time," Mom says, hinting at something deeper. Henry engages his otherwise-mute grandfather by asking him about his "top three" sandwiches and jellyfish, generously offering his own opinions first. Slowly Grandpa comes out of his shell, a smile peeking out from behind his bushy beard. After a top-three day out (to the zoo, swimming pool, and park), Henry asks, "Who are your top three Grannies?" and goes on to answer: "Mine are Granny who is dead," followed by his living grandmother and a fictional one. Readers thus finally learn the reason for Grandpa's sadness and withdrawal as he shares more about his late wife, connecting with his grandson in the process. Well-paced and closely structured, this story works on every level, with Egnéus' watercolors showing a range of emotion and activity, balancing clutter with space. It's not quite a story for children processing grief, as Henry seems fairly unaffected, but it may help families explain to children why the grown-ups in their lives are behaving differently after loss. Henry and his family present white.

Peaceful and heartfelt. (Picture book. 3-7)

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781536211252
Publisher: Candlewick Press
Publication date: 09/03/2019
Pages: 32
Sales rank: 796,230
Product dimensions: 9.30(w) x 10.70(h) x 0.50(d)
Age Range: 2 - 5 Years

Customer Reviews