Grandpa’s Chair
Written by Terence Thornton | Illustrated by Sandy Wenell Thornton | 1987

This book is sort of a strange review for me. This is a story from my childhood that I love simply because of that. Grandpa’s Chair is a story about love, grandparents, and loss.

The story is simple, written from the perspective of a young boy as he looks over a picture album. He remembers the good times and silly times with his grandfather. In the end, all that remains is the chair.

Death is a difficult subject for picture books. Many books have been banned in the past for trying to speak about death to children. I definitely don’t agree with that and appreciate simple books like Grandpa’s Chair handling it gently but expecting that children yearn to understand hard emotions. This is by no means a light read to visit often for bedtime and what-not, but books like this definitely have a place and can be helpful in my opinion. I pored over this book as a child, trying to comprehend death and the feelings this book portrays. Grandpa’s Chair helped me as a kid, and even now as I pull it off the shelf once again to confront my recent experience of loss.

I don’t know much about the Thorntons, except that they have written a couple books between them, all with Christan moral lessons. As with a lot of Christian themed books, these are not stellar literature or art, but they have their place and, as is shown in my fondness for this one, can be equally loved. It’s a good lesson to not always judge a book by its cover, text or art. Some books are lovable simply because of what they share, even if the method is unrefined.