Review Blog

Oct 24 2016

Granny's place by Allison Paterson

cover image

Ill. by Shane McGrath. Big Sky Publishing, 2016. ISBN 9781925275629
Themes: Grandparents, Family, Change, Australian Social History. For anyone who has had a Grandparent who lives in the country or on a farm or whose grandparents have a house that retains historical accoutrements, rather than a collection of 21st Century mass-produced decor, this book will create links to their personal past. The illustrator has depicted delightful images that speak of social history and life before mass production. The Granny in this book lives initially in a charming house with simple possessions and it has strong appeal for the child remembering holidays there. When Granny moves to the city because of a loss in her life (a fact very gently mentioned for the sake of younger readers), her new home is still a historical snapshot of the 1960s/70s. The child who visits remembers with fondness her visits to Granny's Place.
This book is essentially a virtual time capsule of life from previous generations, and it is perhaps a child's parents (or even grandparents!) who will recognise the features illustrated. The essence of the story is that it isn't the architecture, furnishings or surroundings that make Granny's place special - but rather Granny herself.
With the occasional clumsy sentence structure that would complicate a read-aloud experience, the true hero in this book is the illustrations that open the window to the past. (I had moments of reverie myself!) Teachers may be able to use these illustrations to discuss how life has changed over the generations. For example the pantry on Granny's farm includes a Fowler's Vacola Preserving Unit, and no cans or packets!
(Note: valuable as an Australian Curriculum History resource for Year 1: Present and Past Family Life)
Carolyn Hull

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