It is unusual for war to be discussed in a Children’s Picture Book, but this gently told story is narrated by eight year old Sarah, with all of a child’s curiosity. It is a lovely way to inform children about their grandparents and what they may have experienced in life. Likewise, a subject (War) that was always taboo in their household became manageable once brought out into the open. Grandfather was the one to benefit from this as well.
Sarah loves her Grandfather as he has been living in their house since she was born. He has the time to walk to school with her in the mornings and pick her up after lessons. He gives her a snack and helps her with her homework. Sarah knows that Grandfather has a bad leg, and at times he feels very sad. After talking with her Father, Sarah discovered that Grandfather hurt his leg in the Vietnam War, and that he doesn’t ever talk about it. Sarah wanted to find out about the war which made her Grandfather so sad. She researches in her Library but can find little information.
Taking the plunge, Sarah asks her Grandpa “Why did you go to the war in Vietnam?” After a while, they have a discussion, where because there is love and trust between them, honesty prevails. Tears are shared, but the story Grandpa tells is so factual and so open that Sarah understands why Grandpa is sad sometimes.
This is such a topical issue, where many children today have no idea of the turmoil and sacrifices their Grandparents went through. It is beautifully and sensitively told. The soft colours of the illustrations reinforce the gentle story and give a safe and warm feeling to the book. The text is well placed on light coloured backgrounds, and set in small blocks. The story is a great way to introduce the notion of a family’s involvement in war.
|Author||Glyn Harper. Illustrator, Jenny Cooper|
|Publisher||Exile Publishing/EK Books|
|Distributor||EK Books/Exile Publishing|