'The best books, reviewed with insight and charm, but without compromise.'
- author Jackie French

Sunday 29 August 2010

Father's Day Picture Book Special - Part 3

Father's Day: Tribute to Grandad

Title: Adventures with Grandpa

Author/Illustrator: Rosemary Mastnak

Publisher: Hardie Grant, $24.95 RRP

Publication Date: 02/08/2010

Format: Hardcover

ISBN: 9781921690761

For ages: 2+

Type: Picture book

About: Oh, I sigh in envy when someone can do both pictures and words. Mastnak's beautiful book - Adventures with Grandpa - is just divinely saturated with watercolour bliss - the most fabulously detailed and whimsical illustrations - many of them double page spreads - that take the breath away. Children will be truly entranced by these pictures, and adults equally so.

When a little grandson asks his tinkering Grandpa where their adventures will take them today, Grandpa leaves his shed full of curiosities to go exploring with his grandson... climbing trees, swinging on old tyres, building racing cars, skimming the sparkling seas or visiting a shining star.

Although I love this book, the prose is a little awkward at times. It occasionally rhymes but often misses the ryhthmic beat needed to make reading a pleasure, and some words are oddly coupled. This small issue doesn't, however, take away from the overall beauty and magic of
Adventures with Grandpa.

Imaginative, charming and totally eye-boggling, this is a book that needs a place on the shelves of grandparents everywhere.


This book is available online

Title: Grandad and Billy

Author: Julie Kingston

Publisher: Lothian, $16.99 RRP

Publication Date: July 2010

Format: Paperback

ISBN: 9780734411259

For ages: 3+

Type: Picture book

About: Billy’s Grandad is a very Important Man.

He’s done everything: he was school captain, won a gold medal, was voted most eligible bachelor, went to university, run companies, climbed Mt Everest, bought a private jet, met royalty and had a book written about him.

As Billy lists them all off to his Grandad, asking which was the most important, his grandfather laughs and says no to each. There is something even more important than everything on that very impressive list of achievements.

He eventually tells Billy what the most important thing in his life is, as the little boy falls asleep in his grandfather’s arms.

Set at bedtime, and with illustrations that feel warm and comforting by the light of the lamp by Grandad’s armchair, Grandad and Billy is a charming book for grandfathers to share with the children in their lives.

It is a lovely story, with humour and a gorgeous message of love, family and all the things we can learn from our grandparents.

More than that, it is a beautiful reminder of how special Grandads are, and how much they love their grandkids.


This book is available online

Title: Grandpa

Author: Lilith Norman

Illustrator: Noela Young

Publisher: Margaret Hamilton Books (Scholastic), $12.99 RRP

Publication Date: 1998

Format: Soft cover

ISBN: 9781865048093

For ages: 5+

Type: Picture book

About: We bought this book for our son when he was six weeks old - because that's the age his lost his beautiful grandfather, Tommy. This book, therefore, is an incredibly emotive one for me... my son never got to spend time with this amazing man and it's something my husband and are devastated over - even 7 years on.

This simple and beautiful storyline opens on a young lad who tells us his grandfather died last Saturday. Quite simply. That's what happened. Cue tissues.

The book then takes us back a while to when Grandpa was alive - and how he was a pain in the neck for our young hero. How he smoked and made bad jokes and made a mess and told boring stories and kicked the young lad out of his bedroom so he had to sleep in the sunroom. He also made mum cook nothing but chops and sausages when mum wanted to cook exotic Asian foods in a wok.

Then suddenly, Grandpa was gone. And mum could cook what she wanted now. And when she realised this, she broke down and cried.

This beautiful book is incredibly emotional. It touches on loss, on tolerance, on generation gaps and on the triumph of love over the tiny frustrations in life. It also celebrates the wonderful legacy our ancestors leave behind.



This book is available online

Title: A Little Book for Grandfather

Author: Patrick Regan

Publisher: Andrews McMeel Publishing (Pan Macmillan) $8.95 RRP

Publication Date: 01/11/2007

Format: Hardcover with dustjacket

ISBN: 9780740764066

For ages: 5+

Type: Gift book

About: A gorgeous little gift book stuffed with adages on grandfathers and their ways. The best place to be when you're sad is - of course - in Grandpa's lap (Anonymous) and Being grandparents sufficiently removes us from the responsibilities so that we can be friends (Allan Frome).

Dotted with adorable illustrations, this would make a gorgeous gift from grandchild to Pop.


This book is available online