cover image A Flag for Grandma

A Flag for Grandma

Sally Grindley, DK Publishing. DK Publishing (Dorling Kindersley), $15.95 (32pp) ISBN 978-0-7894-3490-6

The grandma in the title is greatly missed but not dolefully mourned by a boy and his grandfather as they spend a day together at the shore. A red flag on a sand castle is for Grandma, declares the boy narrator. ""This big leap's for Grandma,"" says Grandpa, as the pair heads into the surf hand in hand. There are quiet moments as well: Grandpa points out the stars that form a ""silver road stretch[ing] from ocean to sky"" and tells his grandson, ""That's the path Grandma took."" Grindley (A Day with Alice and Sam) never explicitly mentions death and only alludes to the depths of Grandpa's loss (his eyes sparkle in the starlight), but she captures in spare prose how death can strengthen the bond between those who are left behind. Cockcroft (Sophie and the Sea) matches the mood of Grindley's words with contemplative pointillist compositions that reveal glimmers of joy. The art evokes the essence of memory itself and shows that life goes on, though undeniably altered. A subtle, thoughtful approach to discussing the loss of a loved one. Ages 4-7. (Oct.)