A boy helps his ailing grandfather go home one last time in this Swedish import.
Gottfried finds life enlivened by his feisty grandfather, who’s always been “difficult.” They are true kindred spirits. Confined now to the hospital with a broken leg and weak heart, Grandpa’s “worse than ever.” Gottfried’s dad avoids hospital visits because Grandpa’s naughty behavior and declining condition make him “tired and sad.” He rejects Gottfried’s plea to bring Grandpa to live with them, insisting he’s “too sick and angry and stubborn and crazy.” Pretending to be at football training, Gottfried visits Grandpa in the hospital and suggests they should run away. Lying to his parents about where he’s going overnight, Gottfried surreptitiously transports Grandpa to the island house where he lived with Grandma until she died. Back home for one night, Grandpa happily reverts to his old clothes, savors Grandma’s last jar of lingonberry jam, and says farewell to his old life before returning to the hospital. Gottfried’s accessible, unadorned, heartfelt first-person narration reveals the depth of his bond with his grandfather as well as his insightful understanding of his father’s limitations. Linear, colored-pencil drawings capture key interactions between characters and revel in Grandpa’s choler. Characters are white (or, in Grandpa’s case, grouchily pink).
A touching, realistic, gently humorous story of how a sensitive boy copes with his treasured grandfather’s decline. (Fiction. 8-11)