I use the phrase “cozy read” a lot, but Grandad’s Camper by Harry Woodgate is a cozy read. Even if it is not always a happy read. You could substitute any gender of the two grandfathers of the story, and you have “this” story, as the loss of a spouse or partner is universal. Everyone will grieve, everyone will remember the connections they had. I enjoyed how everything is just “normalized” and not “in your face” about the subject.
The two grandfathers of the child of this story were a special part of the child’s life as they were to each other. This book celebrates that and how the grandchild can continue the love their grandfathers had in a special way. We see the affection the grandfathers had for each other, the special times, and places they traveled. And while this is a story about the death of a spouse/grandparent, it is also positive, upbeat even though there is a somber tone throughout.
I enjoyed how easy everything flows. I wanted to hug the grandfather who is trying to live without that special someone in his life. His story is relatable to anyone who has lost a loved one, not just a spouse/partner. The book was written to show representation of older members of the GLBTQ+ community, and the result is a pleasant read that honors not only the characters of the story, but the people Woodgate wanted to honor.
The cover lets you know what to expect in the way of illustrations. They are bright, crowded (in a good way) and colorful. Lots of wonderful colors. They are soft, happy colors and bold at the same time, but not “forceful” colors. They show the action (not traditional “car chase” action, but the action of living) in a light, beautiful way. This helps keep the subject matter from going “too dark” as it could easily do.
Of course, this book would be good for a child who has a family member in a same sex relationship, but also works, as I said above, to help a child normalize all types of love. Aimed at older children (ages 5 and up), all ages could appreciate. However, the picture book format might turn off the older ages 7 to 9 reader.