Grandad's Island
by Benji Davies

from Grandad's Island by Benji Davies


Benji Davies' Grandad's Island

Book review by Tassa Dimitropoulos

Ages 4-8

Old man paints beautiful exit from his grandson's life

This book is about a boy and his grandad who take a journey to an island far away and discover that only one of them will be making the journey back home. It is essentially about an old man about to die, who decides to communicate this in a creative and beautiful way to his grandson.

This book is about a boy and his grandad who take a journey to an island far away and discover that only one of them will be making the journey back home. It is essentially about an old man about to die, who decides to communicate this in a creative and beautiful way to his grandson.

There is something mystical about this story.

Grandad's Island - Summary

The words are few but the pictures are enticing and seem to speak for themselves. Even from the first page, you are captured by the wonder of a young boy who can run into his Grandad's house at any time and believes there is always something interesting going on there.

When Grandad is not in his usual places, we are alerted that something is different, setting the scene for later.

Up in Grandad's attic, we sense the collecting of his life's belongings and see the packed bags and suitcases as an indication that he is going somewhere, but unexpectedly this is where the fantasy begins as he takes the young boy Syd with him.

When Syd steps out of the metal gate and is suddenly on a large ship with a sea of houses, we feel that complicated place where fantasy and reality are intertwined. We can see that Grandad is into painting, and this theme is important - is the whole trip to the island a painting he shows Syd, like telling a story?

Does he paint the picture of himself with the monkey while showing Syd his life journey?

Grandad's Island - Review

Describing this book to a friend made me cry.

It deals with death in such a beautiful but mysterious way, leaving us with a wonderful vision of Grandad in his most favorite place.

It is also subtle enough that a 2 year old with no knowledge of death will not grasp the severity of Granddad's departure, whilst still able to sense the sadness of Syd without it being too dramatic.

An older child, however, may ask questions about the story that could lead to a discussion about the death of a loved one.

When Syd goes back to Grandad's house the next day, we sense the old man's absence, and this would resonate with anyone who has suffered such a loss.

The illustrations in this book are warm and vibrant and for the most part, happy.

Grandad seems to be so content with the animals and jungle on his island, as well as his little home.

Grandad and Syd have a wonderful time together too, and you get a feel for their relationship and the joy of their last times together. 

Despite the sad undertone, Grandad's Island is a book you will want to read again and again just to enter the magical world of the island. This book fills you with the color of Grandad's magical island. One that looks like paradise itself.

More books dealing with death.

More of Tassa's reviews.

New! Comments

Have your say!

Best Children's Books - Find, Read or Write home page.



Reading and reinforcement!

More books about death and dying


Show your reviewer some