Grandad’s Island

0763690058

by Benji Davies (first published in the US by Candlewick, 2016)

This is a book about a boy named Syd. And if you go through the backyard and past the knotty tree, this is a book about Syd’s Grandad.

He’s a Grandad who has a big metal door in the corner of his attic. A metal door that leads to the deck of a very tall ship. A ship that steers on choppy seas to an island. An island where Grandad leaves his walking stick behind.

That’s the thing with this book. We see the heartache coming. We feel the loss inevitable. And yet, even if you experience this story fresh in life, far from loss—it’s still a lovely sentiment about the way we carry people in our hearts.

It’s beautiful.

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These two—white hair under a smile, red hair curled on top—read like the bookends of a life well lived and well loved. I love this small but might design detail in these characters. Very subtly but with a sophisticated sleight of hand, Benji Davies gives us a life cycle.

A legacy.

A now and then and now again.

It’s sweeping in scope, and something Benji Davies does so well is frame his pictures to match. Full bleed illustrations are few and far between, but the scenes he chooses to extend to the pages’ edges are the ones that need the most room to hold their riches.

It’s their home, their shared backyard.

It’s the ship, docked and hopeful.

It’s the island, ready and waiting.

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It’s the wonders of it all.

It’s the goodbye.

It’s a hello.

Check it out. You’ll see what I mean.

And like any Candlewick book, it’s printed on gloriously heavy paper and pages that smell like the best kind of story. Always.

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GRANDAD’S ISLAND. Copyright (c) 2015 by Benji Davies. Reproduced by permission of the publisher, Candlewick Press, Somerville, MA.

3 Comments

  • Posted May 10, 2016 at 11:44 am | Permalink

    I love the vibrant colors! And the island setting sure makes for some gorgeous illustrations.

  • Posted June 17, 2016 at 2:28 pm | Permalink

    Candlewick Press picture books are some of the finest made. Love reviewing for this publisher.

  • Marilyn Garcia
    Posted January 17, 2017 at 10:45 am | Permalink

    OMG! I just read this book. To say it is wonderful is an understatement. I can’t even begin to list all the things I love about it. Anyone who has ever been a kid, had a grandparent, used their imagination, or lost something precious to them should read this book. (Of course that means everyone.)

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