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Inside Grandad

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An unusual and moving story about the magical bond between a boy and his grandfather.

Does it just happen that Gavin and Grandad see the seal while they are fishing in the harbor? Just happen that Grandad talks about the selkies, the seal people who can leave the water and take human form? Just happen that Grandad is finishing the beautiful miniature boat he’s making for Gavin’s tenth birthday, and Gavin decides to call her Selkie? And at that moment, Grandad has his stroke. Could the selkies have something to do with all this?

Day after day at the hospital, Gavin tries to get through to helpless and speechless Grandad, trying to reach him, explain what’s happened to him. Everyone else has given up. But Gavin will try anything. Even asking the selkies to help. To do that, he must give them something to show them how much it matters. What is the dearest thing he owns?

From the Hardcover edition.

From Publishers Weekly

Feb 02, 2004 – Magic hovers just beneath the surface of Dickinson's (The Ropemaker) lyrical tale. Grandad is young Gavin's dear friend and confidante his father is away at sea, his mother and grandmother are too often at work. The boy and his grandfather spend their days together fishing along the shores of their Scotland home. A skilled maker of model boats, Grandad is nearly finished building one for Gavin when a stroke renders him silent and motionless in a hospital bed. For Gavin, the fact that Grandad suffered the stroke while he was talking about the fabled "selkies" (a race of half-seal/half-men who sometimes come onto dry land to walk among us) is more than a coincidence. In a powerful scene, Gavin offers up an enormous sacrifice to the selkies if they will "please, please help me get Grandad back." While such a summary suggests a fantasy, the author remains more concerned with the quieter moments and emotions that define the characters' tender relationships. His depiction of the silent pain of one who sits bedside in a hospital, hour after hour, with only the most tenuous strands of hope, is heartbreaking. The road to the hopeful but honest conclusion is thoughtful but never maudlin, and the insights the author offers will linger long after journey's end. Ages 9-12.
Inside Grandad
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  • $4.99
  • Available on iPhone, iPad, iPod touch, and Mac.
  • Category: Family & Relationships
  • Published: Feb 10, 2004
  • Publisher: Random House Children's Books
  • Seller: Penguin Random House LLC
  • Print Length: 128 Pages
  • Language: English
  • Requirements: To view this book, you must have an iOS device with iBooks 1.3.1 or later and iOS 4.3.3 or later, or a Mac with iBooks 1.0 or later and OS X 10.9 or later.

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