It’s summer and Noi is off to stay with his grandmother. Noi isn’t sure how he feels about this- Grandma lives on a tiny rock, all by herself, miles from anyone else. She cooks seaweed soup and is always busy. As she never has time to play, Noi creeps away whilst the tide is out, finding lots of things to do. Suddenly, a storm blows in and Noi rescues a bird, thrown from the sky by the wind…and finds he is stranded. Grandma comes to save him and together they save many other birds on their way to safety. Noi comes to understand his grandmother better, forming a close bond with her before his father comes to collect him once more.
This is a delightful story, showing the beauty of taking the time to get to know someone and enjoying spending time with them. Everyone is busy these days and there is always something that needs to be done. But when Noi needs her, Grandma is there, supporting him as he works to save the birds.
I love Grandma’s house which reminds me of Daniel Peggotty’s home in ‘David Copperfield’. Noi’s feelings of isolation and uncertainty are beautifully portrayed as he stands, small and alone, on the jetty by the sea, bewildered by the seaweed soup for tea and awake as Grandma snores. These are perfect details for encouraging children to develop their inference skills and develop their thinking based on the illustrations, exploring and gathering vocabulary to help phrase their ideas. The cold, messy house Noi lies sleepless in at night contrasts with the warm, cosy home which they nurse the birds to health in- again mirroring his feelings.
Set in the popular world of ‘The Storm Whale’, this offering from Benji Davies will delight as much as his other books. Only today I was reminded of how lovely these stories are as two Year 3 children, who are not very keen on writing, proudly brought work based on ‘The Storm Whale’ to show me. They loved it and were enthusiastic about both the story and their achievements. It was a definite ‘tear in the eye’ moment.
The gorgeous illustrations and tender story make ‘Grandma Bird’ perfect for sharing and lingering over. I hope we are treated to more tales featuring Grandma Bird and Noi soon.
Grandma Bird Benji Davies
Simon and Schuster ISBN: 978-1471171802