Grandpa’s Top Threes by Wendy Meddour, illustrated by Daniel Egneus. Candlewick Press, 9781536211252, 2019
Rating: 1-5 (5 is an excellent or a Starred review) 5
Genre: Picture Book
What did you like about the book? This was one of the sweetest stories I have ever read! In this story we see a grandfather that lives with his daughter and her young son named Henry. The grandfather spends a great deal of time in the garden and the little boy is always trying to get his attention by either talking to him or asking him to play. The boy is concerned about this behavior and goes to his mother for advice. She tells him to be patient and just allow his grandpa to spend some time in the garden. At this point in the story nothing is really said but you do get the feeling that the grandfather is sad about something and the mother is encouraging her son to give him a little space. Finally, the young boy has a plan–he is going to ask his grandfather what are his top three favorite sandwiches. When he gets the answer, he runs to the kitchen and returns with both of their top three sandwiches. This then begins the game of “top threes” and they discuss their favorite type of jellyfish, trains, what to do on a day off, and favorite animals at the zoo. This goes on and we see Henry and his grandfather getting closer and doing more things together. Finally, Henry tells his grandfather who his top three grandmothers are and that is when we realize that one is a grandmother that has passed away. Henry’s grandfather then shares with him the three top things he loved about his wife (the grandmother that passed away) and also how much she loved Henry. This is such an important book about loss, grieving, and compassion that happens in families when a loved one has passed away. I am sure this would be a valuable book for any family that is experiencing the loss of a family member. I also enjoyed the illustrations provided by Daniel Egneus who has worked with Neil Gaiman on a couple of books.
Anything you did not like about the book. Nothing
To whom would you recommend this book? Perfect for children between the ages of three and seven.
Who should buy this book? Public and elementary school libraries, preschools, daycare centers, anyone that works with children between the ages of three and seven. Also would be helpful for a guidance counselor’s office.
Where would you shelve it? Either picture books or picture books in a parenting section.
Should we (librarians) put this on the top of our “to read” piles? Yes.
Reviewer’s Name, Library (or school), City: Kristin Guay, former youth services librarian.
Date of review: October 10, 2019