Each of these three wonderful stories are very different but all feature some very special inter-generational relationships.
‘Special Delivery,’ by Jonathan Meres, illustrated by Hannah Coulson.
This first story is part of Barrington Stoke’s Little Gems range which are specially produced for readers aged 5+ and feature fun activities in the jacket flaps.
Frank REALLY wants a new bike – but they’re just so expensive. He decides that he’d better start earning some money quickly so starts helping his sister with her paper round. On one of their final stops, they meet an old lady who lives in a residential home and likes to dress like a cowboy. When Frank and his sister find the bold lady at the parking looking confused on day, Frank knows he has to step in.
This story is a very gentle introduction to the idea of dementia for younger readers and highlights how friendships can be formed in the most unlikely of places. It’s also a great lesson in the importance of working and saving for the things you really want.
‘The House in the Clouds,’ by Lisa Thompson, illustrated by Alice McKinley.
This title is part of Barrington Stokes’ range for readers aged 8+ What makes this range so special is that the stories are written by some of the UK’s top children’s authors, meaning that pupils can find an accessible text written by the same great authors their more confident peers are enjoying.
Tabby is fed up of her Grandad living with them, fed up of walking his stinky dog, and fed up of listening to his ridiculous stories. If that’s not bad enough, Tabby’s best friend has abandoned her for another girl from school.
One day, Tabby’s dog walk takes her to the deserted end of the beach where the old abandoned house sits up on the cliff. When Tabby mentions it to her Grandad, he starts to tell her another of his fantastical tales but she doesn’t want to listen. When tragedy strikes, Tabby begins to wonder if maybe there was something to Grandad’s impossible story after all?
Lisa Thompson has a talent for perfectly capturing the real, sometimes uncomfortable, emotions which accompany the important events of everyday life whilst also adding a touch of magic. I think we can all think of someone who’s passed away and we wish we’d had one last conversation with. This story is a wonderful exploration of the complexities of families and grief.
‘Butterflies for Grandpa Joe,’ by Nicola Davies, illustrated by Mike Byrne.
Ben is very worried about his Grandpa. Ever since Granny Lou passed away, Grandpa hasn’t wanted to do anything but stare blankly at the tv screen. Ben can remember what things were like before, when Grandpa would go on butterfly safaris in the back garden or spend ages trying to take that perfect photograph.
It feels like the Grandpa Ben knew is slipping away. He racks his brains for something he can do to help – then a conversation with his twin sisters about their trip to the butterfly house inspires him. Butterflies! And if Grandpa won’t go to the butterflies, the butterflies will have to come to him…
A multitude of difficult ideas such as loss and depression are carefully introduced to readers in this hopeful, uplifting story. As you would expect from a title by Nicola Davies, the power of nature plays a large part in the telling of this tale. I loved the clever mirroring of Grandpa and the caterpillars’ metamorphosis.
There really is a genre of Barrington Stoke book to appeal to any reader or match any topic. Tomorrow, I’m going to share books with a theme of ‘war.’
*Many thanks to Barrington Stoke for sending me these titles to review*