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Children's Book Review: Adventures With Grandpa

Escapades Veer Into the Fantastic, But Retain Human Element

About.com Rating 4.5 Star Rating

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If you're looking for a picture book with a grandfather character, try Adventures With Grandpa.

Rosemary Mastnak's latest is a standout among grandpa books.

Photo © Hardie Grant Egmont

The Bottom Line

Grandpa books aren't as common as grandma books, so a book with an involved grandfather as a character is a good find. Adventures With Grandpa was created by Rosemary Mastnak, who created two charming Grandma books before turning her attention to Grandpa. In this latest book, a sturdy grandson and resourceful Grandpa explore Grandpa's shed for the raw materials for their fantastic adventures, which include fighting a dragon and riding in a hot-air balloon.

Publisher's Site

Pros

  • Engaging illustrations
  • Sprightly text
  • Emphasis on imaginative play
  • Lots of whimsical touches
  • Attractive cover art

Cons

  • Not widely available in the United States

Description

  • Large landscape design
  • 28 pages
  • Hardcover
  • Full-color
  • From Hardie Grant Egmont

Guide Review

Rosemary Mastnak's earlier books--2008's Dancing With Grandma and 2009's Cooking With Grandma--focused on female characters. In Adventures With Grandpa she switches to a grandfather and grandson duo, with equally enchanting results.

As with most picture books, the story line is slim. A young boy goes to his grandfather's shed in search of his grandpa and adventure. The cave is a fascinating place: "It's full of this and that. / Forgotten things. / Things he wants to save. / It's like a magic cave!"

Among the this and that, grandfather and grandson find the stuff that adventures are made of. A old bathtub becomes a pirate ship. An umbrella becomes the nosecone for a rocket. The final image of the book depicts the pair having tea with Grandma and sharing a high five for the adventures of the day.

As with her previous books, Mastnak's animal characters add a whimsical touch. In addition to the dog introduced in Cooking With Grandma, this narrative features a "chook," Australian lingo for a chicken or hen, and a couple of sheep. A pair of birds -- maybe fairy wrens? -- flit through the pages gathering nesting material. Unlike her previous books, this one is written in a sort of free-floating verse with random rhyme.

Mastnak's drawings aren't perfectly rendered. Some panels are more successful than others, and occasionally the scale and proportion seem awry. But all of her illustrations do an admirable job of engaging the interest and also portraying the warm relationships among the characters. If you don't have these books in your library of books to share with grandchildren, you should.

Publisher's Site

Disclosure: A review copy was provided by the publisher. For more information, please see our Ethics Policy.

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