Grandad's Island

Grandad's Island

By Author / Illustrator

Benji Davies



Age range(s)



Simon & Schuster Ltd




Paperback / softback




After the phenomenal success of The Storm Whale and On Sudden Hill, this new book by Benji Davies deals with the emotional topic of losing a grandparent. Subtly told, this beautifully illustrated book tackles a difficult subject with great sensitivity and depth.

At the bottom of Syd's garden, through the gate and past the tree, is Grandad's house. Syd can let himself in any time he likes. But one day when Syd comes to call, Grandad isn't in any of the usual places. He's in the attic, where he ushers Syd through a door, and the two of them journey to a wild, beautiful island awash in color where Grandad decides he will remain. So Syd hugs Grandad one last time and sets sail for home. Visiting Grandad's house at the bottom of the garden again, he finds it just the same as it's always been - except that Grandad isn't there anymore. Sure to provide comfort to young children struggling to understand loss, Benji Davies's tale is a sensitive and beautiful reminder that our loved ones live on in our memories long after they're gone.

Praise for Grandad's Island:

'Davies's elegantly rough illustrations, evoking a child's paintings, tap into the imagination of death with little fuss, and his story declines to offer kids instruction on how to feel. Indeed, Grandad's Island doesn't mention death at all, but is deeply in touch with the ways in which loss and abundance commingle in the mind, correcting and assuaging each other.' The New York Times Book Review
'The creator of The Storm Whale (2014) offers another thoughtful picture book guaranteed to spark discussion...Recommend to young families dealing with loss, especially those who prefer to gloss over the scientific realities.' Booklist Online
'As with The Storm Whale, Davies offers a story of loneliness and togetherness distinguished by understated, deeply felt emotions and a nautical milieu.' Publishers Weekly
'This book is innovative and useful as a way to talk about the idea of loss-without ever referring to actual death. Parents and educators can use this to talk with a child about how it's normal to be sad and miss loved ones...Cheerful, brightly colored illustrations make this a fine choice to use with the youngest of audiences. Since death isn't directly specified, this title also works for when a child's loved one is moving far away. An excellent vehicle to gently approach the topic of loss. Recommended for collections needing these types of materials.' School Library Journal
'Grandad's Island by British author-illustrator Benji Davies (The Storm Whale; Bizzy Bear series) celebrates a close grandfather-grandson relationship with warmth and style. Whether it's read as a picture book about love, loss or just missing someone who isn't around anymore, it's a charmer. Cheerful cinematic spreads invite young readers into all sorts of intriguing places, from a cozy attic full of curiosities like a turtle teapot, to a vast ship's deck, to the deep jungle of an island paradise.' Shelf Awareness for Readers
'A resonant, layered tale that will only gain in texture as its readers get older.' USA Today



Syd could let himself into his much loved Grandad's house any time he wanted, but one day - he wasn't in any of the usual places. After searching an empty house, Syd hears Grandad calling to him from up in the attic, a space that Syd had never seen before, containing all the things that Grandad had collected from his travels. The adventure begins. A hidden door in the attic takes Syd and Grandad onto the deck of a huge ship which then sails away to a magical island, an idyllic place where Grandad doesn't need his walking stick. They explored the island high and low. At every turn they saw new wonders. It was the most perfect place. Syd wished they could stay forever. After their experience Grandad tells Syd that he is planning to stay on the island but that Syd must return home. The vibrant artwork brings this touching story about loss to life. I don't think that children need to necessarily understand the analogy of death to enjoy the book. I read it with a four year old who was very interested in the 'magic' that turned Grandad's house into a ship and the secret door in the attic, as well as the colourful illustrations of tropical island life and jungle animals. The story has a poignant ending. An envelope is delivered to Syd with a picture of Grandad on the island - a reminder that in our minds we can see our loved ones in their 'happy place' whenever we feel like it. Picture book / Ages 4+ / Reviewed by Ellie Williams.

Suggested Reading Age 3+


Grandad's Island tells the story about the relationship between a young boy and his Grandad. One day Syd goes to visit his Grandad and he takes him through a mysterious door on a journey across the sea to a beautiful island. The Island is a tropical paradise where Syd and his Grandad have an amazing time, but when it's time to go home Grandad wants to stay. Syd says goodbye to his Grandad for the last time and begins his journey home feeling very sad. The story is telling through this tale what it means for a child to say goodbye to a loving grandparent. It is a beautiful way of talking to a child about losing a loved one and explaining they're in a much happier place. It is beautifully told with the most amazing illustrations which conjure up this world of a much happier place to be and would help a younger child understand what is going on by using the pictures. Picture book / Ages 5+ / Reviewed by Jo Clarke

Suggested Reading Age 5+


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