Last week, I read Big Papa and the Time Machine, by Daniel Bernstrom and Shane W. Evans (HarperCollins).
The title and cover of this book made me think of a goofy Back to the Future kind of story with a bit of psychedelic Scooby Doo thrown in. Well, I got that wrong!
This is such a warm and beautiful picture book, with a boy who doesn’t want to go to school and his grandfather, who takes him back in time to visit moments when the grandfather was scared, too. But brave anyway. From working construction on top of a skyscraper to being left to raise a grandchild (the boy of the book) to Grandpa’s school papers being ripped up by a man telling his the cotton field is his school. We visit moments both beautiful and heart-breaking and here what scared Grandpa. “You was so little and I was so old,” he says, about being scared to raise his grandson.
There’s just a lovely rhythm to the writing, and a serenity to the art that helps give a feeling of safety even when things are scary. And the author’s and illustrator’s notes at the back are wonderful. I’m so glad this book is a Finalist for the Minnesota Book Awards, because that’s what prompted me to finally check it out and read it! Just found this link to a readaloud by the author here.
Thank you to the library for the review copy of this book!