This best selling children’s novel is from the inimitable David Walliams. A truly wonderful story that is not afraid to deal with a subject that isn’t normally the subject of children’s literature – Walliams carefully and sensitively broaches the subject of dementia from a child’s perspective.
As is common with Walliams’ books, the relationship between a child and a much older person is the basis of the story and this is no exception – Jack and his Grandpa share an unbreakable bond. It doesn’t matter that Jack’s Grandpa wears his slippers to the supermarket or serves up Spam à la Custard for dinner and sometimes doesn’t even remember Jack’s name. But the trouble comes when his Grandpa starts to believe he’s back in World War II, when he was a spitfire pilot and he is sadly sent to live in a care home. Walliams, much like Roald Dahl before him – has an artful knack of conjuring up the most wonderfully hateful villains and the one in this book is the sinister Matron Swine who runs the home. There begins a high octane adventure as Jack prepares to help his Grandpa mount a daring escape from her evil clutches!
Grandpa’s Great Escape is probably best for children aged between 6 and 10 but it would be suitable for almost anyone to enjoy. Grandpa’s Alzheimer’s is beautifully handled with humour and sensitivity and right from the start Walliams manages to make a connection with the reader. Just like his previous books, Gangsta Granny and Mr Stink, there is profound sadness interlinked with his fun and light-hearted narratives – you will definitely laugh out loud as well as need tissues to mop up your tears. This book is so engaging it will hook any reluctant reader and is most definitely a book that should be in every library and in every home bookcase.