Granny and Bean

Granny and Bean
Karen Hesse and Charlotte Voake
Walker Books

Granny and Bean are out walking on the beach: the sea and the sky are dreary shades of grey and beige, but Granny and Bean are undeterred. Suitably clad in raincoats, warm hats, and boots, the pair make their way along the beach, enjoying their time together. Nothing is going to stop these two making the most of their time together. ‘Their laughter rose. Full of joy, it spilled / ‘cross sand, through mist, / as the curlews trilled.’ As they watch the spotted gulls,

so strong is the wind that their hats are blown off, their hair gets progressively wetter and their ‘cheeks chafed red’.

Still they keep walking, only pausing briefly to greet dogs, slowing while Bean jumps over logs until eventually they find a place out of the way of the wildness and there they stop and sit. Time for some tea: bananas and cakes come out of the bag Granny has brought with her. Then they sort through the things they’ve collected during their walk

and keeping only the best shells and a stone, with the sun trying to break through the clouds, the two head for home.

Karen Hesse’s rhyming text has the ideal complement in Charlotte Voake’s mixed media illustrations, which capture both the chill beauty of the natural environment and the tender, loving bond between grandparent and young child. I love the way the stand-out colours of their clothing helps to focus the reader’s attention on their faces and body language throughout.

Memories are made of days such as this; days spent in the natural world. From endpaper to endpaper, a gently magical book to share over and over, especially between grandparents and grandchildren.

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