Title: Grandad’s Camper
Author: Harry Woodgate
Illustrator: Harry Woodgate
Publisher: Andersen Press
Genre: Children’s picture book
Book format: Paperback
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Description:  Years ago. Grandad and Gramps travelled the world together in their camper van.  But Gramps isn’t around any more and Grandad no longer wants to go on adventures…

*Free copy provided by publisher for review…

Review:  This is an interesting picture book with some lovely illustrations although I have a few niggles. ‘Granddad’s Camper’ is bigger than A4 in size and is filled with thick matt pages of very lovely and colourful illustrations and text. Every summer a girl visits her Granddad at his cottage home near the sea. The girl loves to explore her granddad’s home and garden, but what she loves most of all is to listen to all of his stories. Granddad tells her about the adventures he had with her Gramps when they were younger in his camper van. But Granddad doesn’t like to go out on adventures anymore, not since Gramps has gone.

Grandad's Camper book page image two
©The Strawberry Post

From the front cover it was obvious that this book is about more than just a Granddad and his granddaughter, instead being a book that celebrates and normalises the gay relationship that her Granddad had with her Gramps. The story is quite simple, most of it being the story that Granddad tells the girl. In the story he and Gramps have adventures on the beach, they travel through cities (going over brides, through tunnels, etc.), they see lots of different types of homes (flats, town houses, etc.) and visit see lots of different things on their travels within their little camper van. While I like the adventures they go on, there isn’t that much of a story really, and I did feel like there could have been more about their adventures rather than simple things that they did which anyone could do travelling in a car.

The story has a nice ending, the girl helps to cheer her Granddad up as they do something together in his camper van. The girl’s name is never mentioned but what they do brings happiness to both of them. I do like the story, it isn’t bad but it just feels like something is missing. Of course a book like this is trying to help children understand and accept gay relationships as normal which is a good thing. I don’t mind gay characters in books, even some young children’s picture books. But the problem I have with this book is that it feels like instead of being a story about an adventure the girl and Granddad have together, the Granddad who just happens to be gay, it feels like the story is focused too much on that relationship without there being much of another story at all. While it’s a good thing that books today are more inclusive, I still feel like there should be a strong and fun story in picture books, though I know that a lot of people will like the idea of this book and will buy it for its inclusivity. 🙂

I can’t fault the illustrations, they are so wonderful. There is so much to look at on each page and I just love all the small details. The illustrations look colourful and fun and I love the expressions on the characters and all the animals. I especially like them smiling and I just love how much detail there is in each page, there are things to see that you might have missed on the first look. The illustrations of Granddad and Gramps are lovely too. I like how they look in the past and how happy the two look together. The pictures really help with the story and each double page has so much detail you can spend ages just looking at one page!

Grandad's Camper book page image one
©The Strawberry Post


Overall this is a good book, especially for parents who might want to help children understand about gay relationships, to help them understand that this is normal. However, I wish there had been more to Granddad’s adventures, something more interesting or fun to that part of the story to make it feel like a fun adventure, which just happens to have gay characters experiencing it, rather than making the entire book feel like it was about the gay relationship and the adventure secondary. I can imagine some children might find the story less interesting or might also ask about a grandmother (as one reviewer mentioned), but that depends on the children and family. So, overall a good book, but lacking something for me.

What do you think of this book?  Do you like books which are inclusive?  Let me know what you think in the comments below 🙂