A Stopwatch from Grampa

Kids Can. Apr. 2020. 32p. Tr $17.99. ISBN 9781525301445.
PreS-Gr 2–Told in an unadorned first-person narrative, this story provides an honest depiction of the loss of a grandparent. A child sits alone on a porch swing, holding Grampa’s stopwatch, with a forlorn expression that matches the text: “I don’t want his stopwatch. I want him.” Time seems to have stopped; the summer day is still and quiet, and a dog waits patiently nearby with its ball. The stopwatch unleashes a series of vivid memories. Throwing the memento into a bottom drawer, the youngster faces days that now seem lonely and empty. Seasons pass, though, and “remembering him feels good." Done in gouache and graphite, the illustrations meld together soft textures, warm backdrops, and appealing splashes of color. The characters’ faces are expressive and deftly support the emotions revealed in the text.
VERDICT A good discussion starter, this poignant, accessible picture book explores grief, the comfort provided by the passage of time, and the way in which memories allow us to keep loved ones in our hearts forever.

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