Thursday 30 May 2013

Grumpy Grandpa

Grumpy Grandpa by Kate Forsyth, illustrated by Annie White (Scholastic Press)
HB RRP $24.99
ISBN 978-1-74283-175-6
Reviewed by Jenny Heslop

Grumpy Grandpa is a humorous story, told in rhyme, about a young girl’s visit with her grandfather. She is a little scared of him and his gruffness, but by the end she overcomes this fear and comes to the realisation that he is, as her mum says, ‘a funny old teaser’.

I am immediately drawn to the title and the first page – both text and illustration – is an enticing start to the story plunging the reader straight in. It does take a couple of read-throughs to get the rhythm right but it is worth it. The language is rich and descriptive, Grandpa ‘honks like an elephant into a hanky’ giving her ‘ghastly nightmares’.

The illustrations are fabulous and focus mainly on the girl – with her braid always flying backwards – and her grandpa in his flannel shirt and braces. Although the words make Grandpa seem harsh and scary especially when he asks ‘are you grizzling? Or are you singing?', the pictures give away the suppressed grin beneath his bushy eyebrows and crinkly eyes.

This story presents a unique view of a grandparent/grandchild relationship and is one that I think many young children will find reassuring. And they will respond also to the cheekiness of the story.
A great picture book to add to any collection.

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