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Summary and book reviews of Inside Grandad by Peter Dickinson

Inside Grandad

by Peter Dickinson

Inside Grandad
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    Readers' Opinion:

     Not Yet Rated
  • First Published:
    Feb 2004, 128 pages
    Paperback:
    Jun 2005, 124 pages

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Book Summary

Magic hovers just beneath the surface in this unusual and moving story about the bond between a boy and his grandfather.

An unusual and moving story about the magical bond between a boy and his grandfather.

Does it just happen that Gavin and Grandad see the seal while they are fishing in the harbor? Just happen that Grandad talks about the selkies, the seal people who can leave the water and take human form? Just happen that Grandad is finishing the beautiful miniature boat he's making for Gavin's tenth birthday, and Gavin decides to call her Selkie? And at that moment, Grandad has his stroke. Could the selkies have something to do with all this

Day after day at the hospital, Gavin tries to get through to helpless and speechless Grandad, trying to reach him, explain what's happened to him. Everyone else has given up. But Gavin will try anything. Even asking the selkies to help. To do that, he must give them something to show them how much it matters. What is the dearest thing he owns?

Chapter 1

Gavin and Grandad were fishing for mackerel from the harbor wall when the seal popped its head out of the water. For a moment Gavin thought it was a loose net-float bobbing about. Then he saw the two eyes, large, round, and glistening black, staring straight at him. The thing rose a bit more and he saw the whiskery muzzle and knew what he was looking at.

He'd never seen a seal that close. They often came to Stonehaven but usually stayed farther out. What's more, though it must have seen Gavin, it didn't duck out of sight but stayed where it was, staring. Gavin stared straight back.

"It looks like Dodgem begging for handouts," he said.

(Dodgem was Gran's dog, a sort-of-bulldog. He looked tough, but was really a total wimp, and lazy and greedy with it. You couldn't imagine him dodging anything. Gavin's elder brother, Donald, swore he'd once seen him collide with an old woman with a walker, though he'd been moving slower than she ...

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Reviews

BookBrowse

A lovely book that is well worth reading, and one that would be particularly apt for children coping with the serious illness of a family member, elderly or otherwise.   (Reviewed by BookBrowse Review Team).

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Media Reviews
Publishers Weekly

Magic hovers just beneath the surface of Dickinson's lyrical tale.....The road to the hopeful but honest conclusion is thoughtful but never maudlin, and the insights the author offers will linger long after journey's end. Ages 9-12.

Booklist - Hazel Rochman

Gr. 3-6. Many of Dickinson's best stories, such as Eva (1988), are set on the edge between the ordinary and the magical, and in this small book his simple, beautiful words once again root the fantasy in real places and daily routine....The love and grief in the story will touch many readers.

Kirkus Reviews

Gavin's grief recovery, beautifully depicted through explorations of just a few personal relationships, is rich with psychological realism. With a conclusion that's satisfyingly magical without being pat, a touching story of love and determination. (Fiction. 8-12)

School Library Journal - Lauralyn Persson

Gr 4-7-A meticulously crafted novel about 11-year-old Gavin, whose beloved grandfather suffers a debilitating stroke. Set in a Scottish seaside town.... Experienced and thoughtful readers are in for a treat with this lovely story that hovers at the edge of fantasy.

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Beyond the Book

Peter Dickinson, born in 1927, has written more than fifty novels for adults and young readers; and has won both the Carnegie Medal and the Whitbread Children's Award twice.

He is a tall, elderly, bony, beaky, wrinkled sort of fellow, with a lot of untidy gray hair and a weird hooting voice – in fact he looks and sounds a bit like Gandalf’s crazy ...

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