Wednesday 30 September 2020

Lola and Grandpa

Lola and Grandpa
written by Ashling Kwok, illustrated by Yvonne Low (Little Pink Dog Books, 2020) Hardback, 32 pp, colour illustrations, RRP $24.95

ISBN: 978-0-6486528-0-9

Reviewed by Julie Thorndyke

This luminous picture book tackles the subject of death and loss in a gentle, emotionally sustaining way. The sunny, springtime colours of the end papers with daisies blown by the wind offer a poetic introduction to the theme of transience.

The setting is rural, and the half-title page shows a mother and child waving goodbye: setting the mood. The story begins on a sunny, happy note. “Rain clouds have no place in Grandpa’s golden sky.” Lola and Grandpa share many happy moments in their day together.

Everything changes. Grandpa is gone, there is no happy Sunday of visiting. Rain replaces sunshine. Yvonne Low’s illustrations mirror the change in mood through her colour palette and subtle boxed-in images.

This book has a classic feel in both the clear, engaging illustrations and the simply told, present tense story that expresses Lola’s emotional journey. The changing seasons represent the life changes that she must accept.       

“Time passes slowly. The sun has lost its shine.” Huddled in his cardigan, Lola grieves for Grandpa. At last, with the arrival of birdsong and spring sunshine, the daisies bloom again. Lola a remembers: “Time slips away . . . but love and memories last forever.”

The loss of a grandparent can be something of a solitary journey for children, particularly if adults are struggling with their own expression of grief. Books such as this sensitive story, made freely available to children or shared with parents or carers, will help ease the journey to acceptance. Recommended.


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