Picture Book Review - Grandad's Island - Benji Davies (Author & Illustrator)
Excuse me a minute while I just wipe away the tears that I don't seem to be able to stop flowing. Justtttt a minute.
Right, on we go.
Grandad's Island is the award-winning story of a boy and his Grandad, who set sail for a tropical island together, and frankly I've forgotten what happens when they get there because dear God, all you'll remember is the ending. What an incredibly powerful, emotional end, and delicate way of introducing children to the idea that the ones we love won't always be around, but that we'll always cherish the memories.
It's not hard to see why this won the Sainsbury's Childrens Book Award; it's expertly hides itself as just another story, until the point where the adults reading this will get that awful gut-wrenching feeling as you suddenly realise where the story is heading. It's so subtle and sensitively done that you could read this over and over again to your kids without ever actually having to confront the notion of death, instead replacing it just with Grandad going to live on the island and that being a long distance etc., until you're ready to use it as a tool to talk about the loss of a loved one.
I couldn't read this at storytime, or I'd be in tears too much, but I would give this to every parent with a quiet warning about what the content involves. It's beautiful to look at, both heart-breaking and heart-warming to read, and even after just a couple of reads it's a sure-fire Picture Book Hall of Fame contender.
5/5 and an entry into the Picture Book Hall of Fame