Grandpa Joe has always loved butterflies…But since Ben’s granny passed away Grandpa Joe has changed”
Written by the hugely talented Nicola Davies, this is a beautifully written, sensitive story about grief, loss, family, and unconditional love.
Ben’s grandparents garden is like those you would imagine when you think of a nurtured, appreciated and loved garden and it is full of flowers and colour. That has changed recently though, the garden looks unloved and colourless when Ben has gone to visit every day after school since his granny passed away with his grandpa spending every day sat in front of the tv, staring into space.
Ben realises that if he is to get grandpa to enjoy being outside amongst the flowers and butterflies that he must find a way to bring nature to his grandpa and remind him what he is missing and that he enjoyed so much, so he sets about using his pocket money to purchase caterpillars that he will raise to butterflies to surprise his grandpa with.
Ben’s perseverance is truly admirable – especially when the rest of his family are resigned to his grandpas behaviour. The book features three generations of perspective on loss, grief, family and life and shows a stark contrast between them too. Mention of Ben’s grandma is infrequent and has a gentle and kind vibe too so there isn’t a worry that readers will be overwhelmed by the loss the family within the book suffer.
The book features beautiful illustrations by Mike Byrne that compliment the story whilst portraying the emotions and importance of the scene, and the book overall gives an insightful glance at grief and the impact grieving has on the ones we love most. Family is another significant topic within the book with relationships between generations of the family playing out, and even the turmoil of having fallen out with one another is in the story. These relationships make the story relatable to readers, as will the mention of butterflies as we are all familiar with those.
Nicola Davies is well known for her amazing animal themed picture book titles and advocates the need to protect all animals, especially those that are considered to be a dying breed, so it is no surprise to have a diminishing species – albeit insect – mentioned in the book so as to draw attention to the situation, and get people having conversations too.
- Written by Nicola Davies
- Illustrated by Mike Byrne
- Published by Barrington Stoke
- Publication date – 15th October 2019
- Barrington Buzz Words – Butterflies, Grief, Empathy
- Audience Age 8+
- Reading Age 8