Review of Grandad's Gifts taken from the Spring 1994 edition of Dragon Lode
Jennings, known for his short stories (turned into an Australian Children's Television series), transforms a most captivating tale into a picture book. Shane and his family move into Grandad's old house in the hills. But what is in the cupboard in Shane's bedroom that he has been warned not to open? What has remained in there, undisturbed for nineteen years? It seems to call to Shane and he soon becomes involved in the contents of the forbidden cupboard. As always, Jennings adds an unexpected twist to the ending. This story can be a springboard for sharing family stories or enjoyed for its suspense and surprise ending.
Gouldthorpe's illustrations add to the spellbinding effect of the story. His technique of "Black acrylic paint, used like watercolour, and coloured pencil on watercolour paper" gives the reader the feeling of being part of the illustration with its depth and realism. This book was named an Honor book in the Picture Book category by the Australian Children's Book Council for 1993. Both the story and the illustrations will stay with the reader for a long, long time.
The Dragon Lode, Spring 1994