MG Takes on Thursday

This is my weekly meme celebrating amazing middle-grade books, now with a re-vamped banner!

How to take part:

  • Post a picture of the front cover of a middle-grade book which you have read and would recommend to others with details of the author, illustrator and publisher.
  • Open the book to page 11 and share your favourite sentence. 
  • Write three words to describe the book.
  • Either share why you would recommend this book, or link to your review.

This week, I’m celebrating …

Written by  Jenny Pearson
Cover Illustration by David O’Connell
Published by Usborne

Favourite Sentence from Page 11:

Smelled a bit funny to me, like the school stock cupboard.

This book in three words:

FAMILY, ADVENTURE, HAPPINESS

Grandpa Frank’s Great Big Bucket List is another absolute corker:  a wonderfully touching, laugh-out-loud, action-packed adventure with the enduring strength of family bonds at its heart.

11-year-old Frank Davenport has inherited almost half a million pounds by a step-grandmother who no-one in his family has told him about.  Nor have they mentioned that he has a grandfather who lives less than half an hour away in Autumnal Leaves Residential Home.  The money is left with the proviso that it be used to care for his namesake, Grandpa Frank.  And, oh my goodness, does young Frank take that instruction seriously and enthusiastically.  He is determined to track his grandpa down and look after him – whether he wants him to or not!  And what better way to ensure that his grandpa has the best time ever than by creating his very own personalised Bucket List!

Of course, grumpy Grandpa Frank may not be quite as enthusiastic as his grandson about all the madcap adventures that have been planned for his enjoyment, but sometimes we just have to go with the flow and accept that others know the best ways to make our hearts happy! 

And, I mean, what could possibly go wrong with taking an octogenarian hot-air ballooning, taking part in your first-ever dog show with a Newfoundland, swimming with ‘dolphins’, a parkour experience and monster-trucking.  And, by that, I meant to say:  what doesn’t go wrong?

The bucket list experiences that Frank arranges for his grandpa lead to oodles of hilarious moments that had me both giggling merrily and saying aloud ‘Oh no!’ as things don’t quite (understatement of the year!) go to plan.   I’m not going to say any more than that but, whether you’re a chortler or a chuckler, guaranteed laughs are coming your way. 

Young Frank Junior is THE most wonderful, kind-hearted, young boy who I absolutely adored.  He finds it difficult to make friends as his family move around a lot due to his dad’s penchant for wheeler-dealing a la Delboy Trotter which necessitates the family running from trouble.  Frank tells his story in such an honest, chatty, quick-witted manner that I found incredibly endearing.  This is a real testament to the strength of the writing:  I was completely drawn into Frank’s story and was completely invested in him and his family.

I adored the relationship between grandpa Frank and Frank Junior from their very first meeting when Frank finds himself eating bourbons off his grandpa’s belly (don’t ask!).  Both Franks are lonely, searching for happiness and in need of a friend:  they find each other, and the close bond that they develop is incredibly heart-warming.

This story deals with some difficult issues such as fractious family relationships, debt and memory loss in a sensitive manner which is a perfect opportunity to build empathy.

The illustrations are brilliantly lively, humorous and expressive and complement the story perfectly.  My favourite has to be the ‘swimming-with-dolphins ‘experience – the expressions made me right giggle! And those chapter headings – brilliant!

This is an incredibly heartfelt story bursting with humour, warmth and that special je ne sais quoi that imbues all of Jenny’s gorgeous adventures.  A special read that I cannot recommend highly enough.

Thank you for Fritha Lindqvist and Usborne for an early copy in exchange for my honest opinion.

I’d love if anyone who wants to give this meme a go would comment in the comments box and include a link to your post so I can visit, comment and find some great middle-grade recommendations. If you do create a post and are on Twitter, and would like to share your post, please use the hashtag  #MGTakesOnThursday so I can find it, read it and share it!

2 thoughts on “MG Takes on Thursday

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