cover image Grandad's Island

Grandad's Island

Benji Davies. Candlewick, $16.99 (32p) ISBN 978-0-7636-9005-2

When faced with death, children are often told, for better or worse, that the person is in a better place now. In the case of a boy named Syd, he knows for a fact that his Grandad is somewhere pretty spectacular. In this gentle, magic-tinged allegory, Grandad lives in a small house back behind Syd's home. After opening a "big metal door" in Grandad's attic, the two are transported to the deck of a giant ocean liner, which towers over the neighboring buildings in their seaside town. A quick journey takes Syd and Grandad to an island dense with jungle foliage and populated by colorful birds, orangutans, and wonders to discover. Together, they refurbish a raggedy shack on stilts and splash around below a waterfall, after which Grandad tells Syd, "I'm thinking of staying," and the boy returns home. "The journey seemed much longer without Grandad," writes Davies. As with The Storm Whale, Davies offers a story of loneliness and togetherness distinguished by understated, deeply felt emotions and a nautical milieu. Ages 4%E2%80%938. Agent: Vicki Willden-Lebrecht, Bright Literary Agency. (Apr.)