Where is Grandma? by Peter Schossow
|Where is Grandma? by Peter Schossow|
|Category: Emerging Readers|
|Reviewer: John Lloyd|
|Summary: A really pleasant picture book with the right amount of words to appeal to the target age range, and a strong, investigative story.|
|Buy? Yes||Borrow? Yes|
|Pages: 64||Date: July 2017|
|Publisher: Gecko Press|
Meet Henry. He's a young lad being taken by a nanny to hospital to check up on his grandma, who's in having had an accident. It's a shame, then, that said nanny is so busy yacking into her phone to look after him, for he ends up going off on his own adventure to find his gran. And what an adventure – babies being born, people with stomach problems, chemo, beans stuck up their nose… all life is here in this hospital, and both that and the lad's mishap are clearly and very pleasantly conveyed.
This is a wonderfully visual book, taking a large format hardback and giving us everything in double-page spreads. What's more, with the script tucked away into the corners, you can see the subdued palette and clever artwork for what it is. It all looks quite computer-assisted design, with rigid square lines, clear perspectives and so on, but there's something else to these images that appeals and makes the book stand out. They contain multiple exposures. Take the instance of Henry checking out a corridor full of closed doors, and you'll not only see him in the one single image at each and every door, whether he can open it or not, but also standing around in several places looking bewildered. It's a great technique to fill the page, to animate the scenario, and to convey the passage of time before you turn over to the next spread. The visuals are definitely aware of ethnic inclusivity, too, so apart from the Kurdish nanny (who doesn't come over as very pleasant, with her phone fixation) we see lots of Middle Eastern noses, diverse characters and so on.
I call this an investigative story, as we get by osmosis the great variety of people working in the building, and the simple moral of the scale of it and the danger of being alone in it. The book clearly has the intention of being dramatic, which it is, but also of showing us different aspects of the hospital, from the waiting rooms to the surgeons coming out of heart operations. What it isn't is a book to help a young child with worries about walking under the flashing red cross and seeing the sick and injured – this is here for entertainment and not reassurance or education in that regard. Finally, then, with the text being a well-presented font size, and with a perfectly clear simplicity (and a really great and unexpected literary in-joke for the parents), there is nothing to mark this book down for. It's quietly informative, it has an engaging scenario, and the artist's style is both distinctive and yet universally appealing. This is certainly one book to look at for the under-eights.
I must thank the publishers for my review copy.
It's a different beast entirely, but The Hawk of the Castle: A Story of Medieval Falconry by Danna Smith and Bagram Ibatoulline had had my vote for large-format early reader of the year up til now. Now I'm split both ways.
You can read more book reviews or buy Where is Grandma? by Peter Schossow at Amazon.co.uk
You can read more book reviews or buy Where is Grandma? by Peter Schossow at Amazon.com.
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