Grandpa Across the Ocean

Abrams. Apr. 2021. 40p. Tr $16.99. ISBN 9781419742255.
PreS-Gr 1–For all children everywhere, the unfamiliar is hard. When the young narrator of this sweet picture book first gets to South Korea, or the “other side of the ocean,” everything seems strange to him, including his grandfather. They can’t understand each other’s language and the house is “the most boring place on earth,” until the young boy accidentally knocks over one of his grandfather’s beloved potted orchids. Afraid of getting in trouble, the boy cowers, only to find that the old gentleman is ready to comfort him with peaches and a toy car. From then on, the two are inseparable. They enjoy walks in town, ice cream cones, and trips to the beach. By the end of the story, “Now where Grandpas lives, it smells familiar. It sounds familiar. And it feels like home.” Young readers will be comforted and entertained by the evolution of the relationship between the boy and his grandfather, as he goes from a stranger to “a troublemaker. Just like me.” Yum’s witty, brief text perfectly and humorously complements her simple but expressive illustrations. The circumstances will resonate for children who have family far away.
VERDICT  A great choice for picture book collections, this will be treasured by families preparing their young ones for a visit with relatives.

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