Friday, 29 June 2018

ReaditDaddy's Second Picture Book of the Week - Week Ending 29th June 2018: "If All The World Were..." by Joseph Coelho and Allison Colpoys (Lincoln Children's Books)

I don't think we were at all emotionally prepared for our second book of the week this week. Not prepared at all...
So in earnest we beg you to have tissues / hankies ready, and if you wear mascara consider yourself on a five-bell alarm that it'll be running down your face like a mad goth on a sweaty weekender by the end of this book.

"If all the World Were..." by Joseph Coelho and Allison Colpoys is a beautiful celebration of grand-folk. In the case of this story a young girl loves her grandad very much, and carefully chronicles all the amazing ways that he has enhanced and enriched her life doing - well the sort of things that Grandads are great at. Sharing amazing experiences, gently imparting knowledge, letting you get away with eating far too much sugar.

We sat down to read this one in a huddle. I'd see the Twitter buzz about it and knew it'd probably wreck me because I'm a complete softy and books like this just break me in half.

We were OK at this tears yet.
I wanted to see C's reaction to it though and it was as I'd expected.

"I think I'm going to cry! This book is making me want to cry!" she wailed. She has such a close bond with her grandparents on both sides and Joseph's gentle poetic story woven around the four seasons and the shared experiences of grandad and granddaughter unfolds beautifully - even though it touches on the subjects of death and grief it manages to do so in a touching, thoughtful and beautiful way.

Still OK. We loved the book's use of the seasons to underpin this gorgeous story. 
Allison's illustrations are absolutely sublime, I mean even if this book was wordless it would still manage to impart such emotion and feeling purely from her art. In conjunction with Joe's words though, it's absolutely glorious.

Slight wobble here. Bottom lip definitely trembling. 
As a family we all know we'd be utterly lost without our parents / grandparents and the sheer amount they do to help us out as working parents who often rely on them to look after C during the holidays. But it's more than that - it's how much we value all the things they have to share with the next-but-one generation down, how much of their knowledge, experience and energy still forms such a hugely important part of C's development - and how the girl in the story has exactly the same feelings about her amazing Grandad.

There's one spread in this book that will completely destroy you though, as we've already warned you (we didn't want to include it in the review, we want you to buy this book and discover it for yourself). By that point we were a hot mess of tears, cuddles and sobs.

Children's picture books that can wring that kind of emotional response out of us are always treasured and special, and the message this book imparts is just so beautifully brought across with the perfect combination of prose and pictures.

Do not miss out on this one.

C's best bit: Playing cars with Grandad - just like she does with her own grandads and grandmas.

Daddy's favourite bit: Blubbed like a baby, as it reminded me of my late Nan and how we did all the things that the little girl and her Grandad did in this book, and so many more. Grandparents can be such a huge influence on us and we miss them like mad when they're gone, but can always remember them and cherish those memories and stories just like the little girl in this book.

"If All The World Were..." by Joseph Coelho and Allison Colpoys is out now, published by Lincoln Children's Books (kindly supplied for review).