Grandad’s Wheelies by Jack Lasenby, illus. Bob Kerr. Pub. Puffin, 2016.
Any children who have grandparents as imaginative and daring as Jack’s grandparents would be very lucky indeed. Jack’s grandparents can spin off a yarn and shaggy dog story at the expense of each other like dropping a hat.
This novel for primary and intermediate aged children is a collection of 30 over the top stories from New Zealand’s master of the tall story Jack Lasenby. Some of the stories have a legendary feel about them others cast light on a bygone age and others are just straight shaggy dog. All however are very funny and ingenious.
What’s more they give life to old people and their relationships with their grandchildren, one of the closest and dearest family relationships. Jack Lasenby is not going to let the wisdom and humorous experiences of granddad and granny be forgotten and grandson Jack is the winner. So is everyone who reads this book.
I liked all the stories but my favourite was Chapter 10 How we call things by Different Names. If you have ever yelled at the News or cringed at Aunt Daisy you will understand why.
As ever Bob Kerr supplies telling illustrations that enhance the fun of this book.
Not many picture books have the word palaeontologist in the text, and not many will have the multi level appeal of this memorable picture book for everybody.
Wanda knows that grandpa is a dinosaur but nobody else seems to notice. There is plenty of evidence – grandpa’s skin is green, he has a tail and he is the only grandpa to eat a whole tree at the Grandparents Day picnic.
So Wanda takes a direct approach and asks her grandpa if he is a dinosaur “of course I am ” he replies. But he is not the only one, read and find out where the others are.
Excellent story with minimum written text. Brevity is the key to all humour and Terry Jones knows this. Richard Fairgray has provided perceptive whole page illustrations with the facial expressions, particularly of grandpa superb.Tara Black’s colouring is also a standout feature.
Add in the unique relationship between Wanda and her grandpa and you have a picture book with the aaah and wow factor. If you don’t get this for your school or your children at home you are mad.
As a granddad myself, I haven’t been called a dinosaur yet, but my day is coming. My granddaughters have had it read to them every day this week at bed time. “that’s you granddad” said the younger one on day one.
One of the most heartfelt and lovely sophisticated picture books I have read.
It deals as the title says with “what matters”. It is a human relationship story between Maia, a strong willed, adventurous, cake loving girl and her equally strong willed, adventurous and cake loving grand mother. They do everything together until a fateful day when grandma stumbled and lay on the ground.
Maia can’t understand. She waits by grandma’s bed in hospital. When grandma wakes from the stroke only Maia can tell what she is talking about and thinking.
But then more shattering news hits the family.Grandma is revitalised and with Maia’s help makes an essential journey. More importantly she can say cake again but also goodbye.
The illustrations by Kaatje Vermeire are perfect. They are like printmaking dominated by browns and greys but with splashes of cherry and pink. Grandma and Maia both wear cherry and pink dresses when all is well but grandma changes after the stroke while Maia continues with cherry and pink.
What is truely special is when grandad explains to Maia about grandma. Not a word is written as Maia and grandad sit on a park bench, Maia in her cherry dress, head bowed, grandad hatless amongst the browns and dark grey of the trees and backyard where Maia and grandma once frolicked.
Lovely human ending for a very classy picture book. For all ages, don’t miss this one.
What’s a grommet you ask? Any surfer will tell you and so will this picture book so you better read it.
Granny and her three friends go surfing and snorkle diving. They each have their own colour plus wet suit, waterproof cap, snorkle and sunscreen.
While the oldies surf, the little boy who is unsure in the water waits with his dog on the beach. Granny comes ashore and helps her grandson to get used to the water and overcome his fears.
The oldies add fun to this story which will appeal to the adults, and that trusting friendship between old and young is wonderfully celebrated.
Karen Blair’s water colour illustrations overlayed by chinagraph pencils and acrylic paint, compliment the written text and enhance the humour and warmth of the story. The great Australian coastline is beautifully portrayed.
In the back are safety tips for going out in the sun and swimming and surfing in the sea.
A great addition for any home with primary children and school libraries.