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Grandad's Island

4.31  ·  Rating details ·  1,154 ratings  ·  202 reviews
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.
Praise for The Storm Whale:
"A future classic and a must have for the discerning picture book fan" The Booksniffer
ebook, 32 pages
Published July 2nd 2015 by Simon & Schuster UK
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Catherine The book is a pleasure to look at, so it might please readers of a large age range. It might be used as an explanation of a grandparent's death for pr…moreThe book is a pleasure to look at, so it might please readers of a large age range. It might be used as an explanation of a grandparent's death for preschoolers and early elementary aged children. (less)

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Average rating 4.31  · 
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 ·  1,154 ratings  ·  202 reviews

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Proficient readers bring a lot of assumptions to text, that young children need to be taught explicitly or else learn implicitly though wide reading and life experience. Even though I read Grandad's Island to my class, following the news of a death in our community, no child made any connection between that event and grandad's decision to remain on the island. The children loved this book mostly for the illustrations - the ship, birds, waterfall. No-one read any deeper meaning into what is so cl ...more
Donna {Book Passion For Life}
Grandad's Island is a beautiful story about a young boy who is trying to understand why his Grandad father won't be in his life anymore. It's a story about losing a loved one and while this might put some people off from reading, it could actually help you more than you think.

This book couldn't have come at a more perfect time. My 4 year old has recently started questioning a lot of the normal day to day things and losing a loved one or even knowing that she could at some point die, it was an em
A great book about love for grandparents, adventures and more.

I do have to say that I didn't read the blurb. I just saw Benji Davies + a gorgeous new picture book and I just had to get it. So I have to say I was a bit confused with the book, especially with the ending. Then I read the blurb and after that I re-read the book and saw some small hints that indeed hinted to that blurb.

What I thought was that this was just a magical book about a boy making a journey with his granddad in a magical boa
Adeline Gravell
A beautiful book with great illustrations and a lovely story, which may help children with the loss of a grandparent.
Would defined recommend for KS1 children.
Could also be used in KS2 as a stimuli for lessons.
A touching and comforting book that could be used to deal with the loss of a grandparent, as well as a good every day read. The illustrations are bright and full of detail which can be explored further.
Ellie Abrey
Jan 20, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: picture-books
This story is of a young boy and his grandfather as they journey to an exotic island on their boat, they have an amazing time, leaving the boy feeling sad at the realisation that they will soon have to return home. To the boys surprise, the Grandad states that while the boy need to return home, he would like to stay at the island. The boy then journeys back home, a journey which seems all the more difficult and tiresome without his grandfather present. Upon returning to his grandfathers home, he ...more
Eve Leuzinger
A vibrantly coloured picture book that has a great approach to a rather tricky topic. Grandad's island tells the tale of a boy and his grandfather adventuring to and from a mystery island, however when Grandad stays on the island Syd is left to navigate the world by himself.

This picture book deals excellently with a tricky topic about family members leaving which can be difficult to explain to young children. However, this books positive tone throughout could really aid this discussion in the p
Mar 05, 2019 rated it it was amazing
I love all picture books by Benji Davies, but this one is the best yet! Such a beautiful way of helping children (or adults for that matter) to deal with losing a loved-one!
Becca Edwards
Nov 18, 2015 rated it it was amazing
This is a beautiful book, both the visual elements and the written story.
It still surprises me to this day, the number of Picturebooks for children that address the theme of loss and bereavement, without actually addressing it as 'death'. It is written in a lovely, heart-warming way, and I can imagine it could be really valuable for use in the classroom, PSHE, or for a child to read with parents.
Sue Read
Sep 13, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: picture-books
The sentiment in this book is beautiful as it so sensitively deals with the loss of a much loved Grandad. The simple, yet thoughtful writing and colourful, detailed illustrations combine to leave the reader both hugely comforted and uplifted. Each page is worthy of time and discussion as they lead us to understand the changing emotions that accompany the final adventure Grandad and Syd have together. Watch the pictures carefully as themes, objects and animals reappear! This is a super book.
Jul 09, 2019 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: (With Caveat) Readers Looking for Children's Stories About the Death of a Grandparent
Syd and his Grandad set sail for a very special island in this metaphorical exploration of death and grieving for the picture-book set. The tropical paradise they discover serves as a substitute for Grandad's final resting place, and Syd sails back to the 'real' world alone. Missing his grandfather, Syd is comforted by the idea, as represented by the letter from the island that he receives, that his Grandad is in a good place...

From the praise I have seen heaped upon Gradad's Island by other onl
Claire Holloway
Nov 22, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I love this book. It is about a little boy called Syd who goes to visit his Grandad and one day he can't find him, until he sees that he is in the loft and then they go on at adventure together by going through a door, but Grandad loves it so much he decides to stay. This book deals with a very sensitive subject of losing grandparents and it is a situation I have seen many children experience and this book may help them to understand the situation. Grandad and Syd going on one 'last adventure' i ...more
Zoe Hickey
Nov 17, 2020 rated it it was amazing
A lovely story about a young boy who goes on an adventure with his grandad. I understood there to be an underlying metaphor of death and a beautiful underlying message about our loved ones and no matter how far they are, love will never be lost.
I would love to explore this message with children and see what they think the letter at the end might say.
Jan 20, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: picture-books, family
I think this book is a metaphor because they go to an island that doesn’t really exist. The grandad goes there with his grandson and then stays because I believe he knows he is going to die.

The illustrations are wonderful because they are detailed, filled with colour and dark.
Nov 09, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: picture-books
A lovely story about the relationship between Syd and his Grandad and their adventure to a fantastical island. A very thought-provoking book which could be used to expand KS2 students thinking regarding the realism of the story and coping with grief.
This book was so lovely and capture such a very special journey between a grandfather and his grandson. My interpretation of the island was that it was a metaphor for 'heaven' and it's all about the boy having to let go of his grandfather but knowing he'll always be loved and thought of. I think it would be a great book to read with children who may have lost a grandfather ...more
Izzy Street
This book, along with its fantastic illustrations, tackles the difficult subject of losing a grandparent in a sensitive and subtle way. Whilst appropriate for use with children in KS1, who may not even realise there is a metaphor for death contained within the story, the book could also be used with children in KS2 as a starting point for a PSHE lesson about bereavement. The book explores death in a similar way to Oliver Jeffers’ ‘The Heart and the Bottle’, however I think I prefer Davies’ book ...more
Mar 27, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This story unexpectedly pulled at my heart-strings, and I can see others feeling the same. This beautiful book covers an important topic of grief for a young child, and it is done in a sensitive, thoughtful way. In Grandad’s Island, Syd knows that his Grandad will always be with him in his heart and in his imagination. I loved the message and the bold illustrations.
I must admit the metaphor of death and loss went completely over my head, by the end of the book I felt frustrated that Syd's Grandad stayed on his own and Syd couldn't enjoy the adventures of the jungle too. I think this shows that it could simply be taken as an interesting story for younger readers but also it has layers! I then read it again, feeling sad that it was in fact about losing a grandparent. I liked the symbolism when Syd had to travel back on his own, the waves were bumpy but he go ...more
Blake Bramley
So I thought I’d read some picture books to set me up for writing my Uni notes... I had picked up this book because of the beautiful bright colours and sweet illustrations on the cover that I wanted to have a try at sketching...

I had not expected this story to take the turn it did!

This beautiful, colourful and imaginative book is all about the relationship between Syd and his grandad, and creating a metaphor for his passing.
Grandad takes Syd exploring a far away island in his attic, where he de
This story is a metaphor for death and loss with Syd experiencing and coping with the loss of his grandad. The metaphor is not very explicit which means the book could simply be used as a nice read-aloud story for younger readers or explored more deeply with older children. Some children may be happy with the fact that Grandad has stayed on the island and is having a nice time while others may be able to use the book to help them cope with their own experiences of loss. The happiness the two cha ...more
Abbie Stagg
Nov 12, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Not only does this book contain eye-catching images useful for engaging the reader, but it contains a lovely perspective on death and loss. When Sam visits his grandad in his attic, he is taken to a beautiful island. Although it took some time to completely understand, the powerful message really demonstrated how young children could deal with loss. Through the stormy journey back, which could demonstrate the grief and hard timez at first, and then the end where Sam remembers memories with his G ...more
Louise Goddard
Feb 18, 2021 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: picture-books
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Sarah N
Mar 05, 2018 rated it liked it
(3 1/2 STARS) There's so much to see on every page in a wide array of colors and the story is bittersweet. ...more
Jennifer B.
May 09, 2018 rated it it was amazing
What a tender and emotive allegorical tale about the passing of a beloved grandfather. Beautiful artwork, too.
Caroline Nixey
Oct 02, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Really nicely illustrated and a lovely story. I would use this in a KS1 classroom and would be a great stimuli talk about animals
Nov 12, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Really enjoyed this book, the illustrations are colourful and engaging. The story itself is heart-warming and shows a strong relationship between a grandad and grandson.
Francesca Lee
Oct 07, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favourites
I loved reading this story about a boy and his Grandad’s close relationship. Up in Grandad’s attic a metal door leads to a ship docked on a port where the boy and his Grandad set sail. They reach an island which they explore. Sadly, the Grandad decides he wants to stay so they boy sets sail home on his own. He goes back to his Grandad’s house and finds it lonely there, however, a bird delivers an envelope with a picture of the Grandad on the island with the animals. This turns out to be the boy‘ ...more
Laura Brandon
A beautiful book presenting death in a more positive way that shows we are never far from those we have lost. A great tool for discussion and reading for pleasure in the classroom.
Iqra Fiaz
Oct 24, 2019 rated it it was amazing
This book is truly wonderful. It explores emotions such as loss and grief in a sensitive way, making it accessible for children. A great reminder that those we hold dear to us are never too far away.
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2019 Roe Reading ...: Grandad's Island 1 2 Dec 09, 2020 06:35AM  
2019 Roe Reading ...: Grandad's Island 2 2 Aug 18, 2020 03:09AM  
2018 Roe Reading ...: Grandad's Island by Benji Davies 1 1 Jun 05, 2020 02:26PM  

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Benji Davies is the illustrator of the Bizzy Bear books, Bizzy Bear: Let’s Go and Play and Bizzy Bear: Fun on the Farm. As a child, Benji knew that when he grew up he either wanted to make films or draw pictures in books. He is still working out which he likes best, and currently divides his time between illustrating children’s books and directing animation.

He has worked on a huge range of subject

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