By Author / Illustrator
Anna Wilson, illus Sarah Massini
Nosy Crow Ltd
Paperback / softback
Life-affirming and lyrical, this beautiful picture book celebrates the awesome power of nature, while gently introducing young children to the concept of life and death.
Over the course of a year, a young child and their dog watch kingfishers by the river with Grandpa. As spring turns to summer and autumn to winter, the kingfishers raise a family, while Grandpa teaches his grandchild about the power of nature and the circle of life.
Written in memory of her father, whose favourite bird was the kingfisher, Anna Wilson takes readers on a lyrical journey though a year in the life of a kingfisher family. Stunning illustrations by Sarah Massini bring the riverbank to life in all its glory, while the powerful intergenerational bond between grandparent and grandchild shows that just as spring always follows winter, hope will always return if you know where to look for it.
A positive story about life, death, and being a part of the natural world. Find out more from author Anna Wilson and illustrator Sarah Massini.
Grandpa and the Kingfisher is a beautifully illustrated book which follows a little girl and her grandfather over the course of a year along with a family of kingfishers. It explores sensitive themes of loss and grief and also the circle of life which is shown through following the life cycle of the kingfishers as the seasons change.
It is a thought-provoking book for children which can act as an opportunity to discuss themes around death and loss. I read this with my three-year-old daughter but I think the themes are a little too mature for her at present as she struggled to understand why the grandpa had gone. We will definitely come back to it as she gets a little older.
Picture book / Reviewed by Jo Thomas
Suggested Reading Age 5+
Grandpa and the Kingfisher follows the journey of a small child and their Grandpa as they watch the seasons change and the kingfishers raise their family.
This sensitively written story touches on the circle of life and introduces the idea that death is a part of that. The illustrations add detail and context to the story and the gentle colours respect the tone of the narrative.
There are so many themes within this beautiful picture book that could be explored in a class setting. The circle of life and changes in nature would be relevant for all KS1 year groups. The story could be used in PSHE to spark discussions around life and death; it could be used in Emotional Literacy to help a child to start talking about their experiences of grief.
The author has carefully chosen language throughout the book to add richness whilst ensuring that it is accessible to children of all ages. It is a very skilled writer who can convey such complex concepts with so few words and such compassion.
Picture book / Reviewed by Amanda Shipton, teacher
Suggested Reading Age 3+