Illustrations © Jason Cockcroft

Thank You, Grandpa

by Lynn Plourde Illustrated by Jason Cockcroft Dutton Children’s Books, 2003

Over the years, there were many more
“thank you’s and “good-byes.”

They found a butterfly on the side of the road,
and Grandpa said, “You have traveled far from
caterpillar to butterfly. Thank you for showing
us how to age with beauty and grace.”

The girl added, “Thank you, butterfly,
for being a flower with wings.”

This book tells the story of a special relationship between a grandfather and granddaughter. The two take nature walks starting when the girl is just a toddler—they “wobbled along, side by side, hand in hand, smile to smile.” When they discover a dead grasshopper on a walk, the girl asks what they should do. Her grandfather’s reply is “We can say thank you and good-bye.” And so they say this message to the grasshopper and other dead creatures that they discover on their walks throughout the years. As they age, grandfather and granddaughter “shuffle along, side by side, hand in hand, smile to smile until one day the girl walks alone.” Then the girl must use the lesson she learned to say a final, special “thank you and good-bye” to her beloved grandfather.

Honors

Oppenheim Toy Portfolio Gold Award, 2003 & 2004

Barbara Karlin Grant - the story received a picture book text award from the Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators, 1996

Wisconsin State Reading Association-Children's Literature Committee-starred book on 2004 picture book list

Golden Trap Award (for Maine's islands)-on final list of family books for 2004

2004 Cream of the Crop, Maine Library System

Reviews

"The lyrical language is lovely, and the story serves as a gentle, not overly sentimental, look at life in the moment and in memory."
Booklist

"Not since Tomie dePaola's Nana Upstairs, Nana Downstairs have I been so touched by a story of a child losing a grandparent."
St. Petersburg Times

"The images of nature are beautiful, and the joy the grandfather and girl feel at being together is evident in their faces. This (book) will provide comfort in times of loss with its reassurance that death is part of the natural cycle of life."
Kirkus

"This is a wonderful, sensitive book about a painful topic. Share it with a youngster who's lost a cherished relative."
L.A. Daily News

"Plourde's thoughtful text and Cockcroft's expressive paintings work well together to convey both a respect for life and an awareness of the power of love. Parents looking for a way to introduce this difficult topic will appreciate the sensitive story, but it's possible that even browsers who aren't seeking this specific subject will appreciate this unusual picture book.
School Library Journal

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