My Grandpa
Written & Illustrated by Marta Altés

Abrams • 2013 • 32 pages
Hardcover ($15.95)
ISBN: 978-1-4197-0588-5
Ages 4-8

This tender and “beary” sweet story about a young bear cub and his grandpa quickly alludes to an overarching theme of aging and dementia, which should make it relatable to young children with grandparents facing similar circumstances. Parents may also appreciate this book as a possible primer for talking to young children about these topics.

In this celebration of the classic bond between grandparent and grandchild, the young bear delights in the joy that he brings to his grandpa even though “sometimes [Grandpa] gets lost” or behaves like a child too. Together, grandpa and grandson take walks in the woods and create an imaginary world where they valiantly fend off angry tigers. The book’s conclusion is equally touching as it sends a message about accepting life’s changes and the people it chooses to change with it.

Read Related: Spending Summers with Grandparents

Altés’ artwork alone is enough to sustain the book’s appeal. The brief author bio on the book’s jacket notes that the author/illustrator “grew up surrounded by color pencils” and today she “is still surrounded by color pencils—and that’s just how she likes it.” Altés, in fact, pulls off this particular picture book with very little color: varying hues of taupe and poppy red are used to create emotive scenes. It’s this simplicity, though, that allows the book’s substantial subject matter to really make an impression on readers.

—Reviewed by Kacy Vega, Arizona State University