Grandad’s Camper written and illustrated by Harry Woodgate is a celebration of love, intergenerational bonds between a grandfather and granddaughter, storytelling, making cherished memories and finding possibilities.
First, it must be said, pause when you open the cover to take in the glorious, front endpaper (which is different to the back endpaper). The story starts here and provides context to the storyline. The back endpaper is so very fitting and ties the whole story together perfectly and beautifully.
This picture book begins with a young girl, the granddaughter, who has come to visit her Grandad. Each year she visits her Grandad, his home reflects the array of adventures he has enjoyed and pays homage to his full life. The granddaughter bonds with her Grandad over stories he fondly recalls and shares from his past, all include Gramps, Grandad’s partner who has since passed away and their tales of exploration. It is through these stories that the granddaughter gets to learn more about her Granddad and Gramps. Together, they enjoyed travelling around in their pink campervan, these were days and nights brimming with fun, life, quality time and savouring unforgettable moments as well as all the best that life has to offer. That campervan became their “home on wheels” the vehicle that led to dreams being fulfilled and priceless memories to last a lifetime made. Her Grandad’s face lights up when he reminisces about these precious days.
It strikes the granddaughter odd that her Grandad no longer goes anywhere. She questions him about this. He explains that with Gramps no longer around, travel doesn’t hold the same appeal it once did. The intuitive granddaughter has a thought that quickly turns into a plan. Will this plan be the very thing that could see her Grandad enjoy some more adventures?
The enticing, vibrant and layered illustrations exploding with colour bring the text to life and aptly capture a well lived life of adventure. The illustrations also demand revisiting as new details emerge each time.
It is vital that book collections reflect family diversity so that children can either see their own personal experiences reflected in books, or they can increase their understanding about the many and varied family structures.