My Good Friend, Grandpa
Story by Elaine Sharfe, Illustrations by Karen Sim
Published by Your Nickel’s Worth Publishing
$9.95 ISBN 9-781927-756713
You don't have to be a grandparent to appreciate Saskatoon writer Elaine Sharfe's illustrated children's book, My Good Friend, Grandpa. Indeed, anyone with a heart will adore this beautifully rendered tale about a boy's strong connection with his beloved grandfather, and, as in all the best writing, the author skillfully evokes emotion without regressing into sentimentality.
Want to write your own children's book? Reading and studying great books is the best way to learn, and I'd definitely recommend Sharfe's well-written story to anyone who has an emotional children's story to tell. The tenor is spot-on here. Sharfe starts and ends on just the right notes, immediately establishing the characters' close relationship by simply stating it: "Noah and Grandpa Ed had been good friends for as long as Noah could remember. Grandpa Ed said they had been friends forever."
Nanaimo illustrator Karen Sims ably demonstrates this tight bond via full-colour images that show the young, big-eyed boy and his loving grandfather involved in activities that range from watering plants at the family cottage to enjoying treats in the bleachers at a football game (and I don't think the green and white flag Noah is waving is a coincidence).
Noah and Grandpa Ed are each other's biggest fans. The images reveal a smiling, animated child until page 15, when the story turns: "Noah was nine when Grandpa Ed got sick." Again, no embellishment's necessary: stating the facts does the job perfectly; the reader's heart drops. (You'll have to read the book yourself to learn what follows).
Real, moving, consistent and gorgeous, this intergenerational story is one to be cherished and shared.
This book is available at your local bookstore or from www.skbooks.com