“The Truth About Grandparents” by Elina Ellis


01.15.20 • 11:07 am EST | 0 responses |

We seem to be a culture consumed with the truth of things. And in that struggle to discern truth, we usually make judgments about a ton of things; but people mostly.

We judge by what we see and hear and suppose.

I guess grandparents fall into that category to a degree.

Well, they’re certainly older, a generation or more removed from us, and their experiences were The Great Depression and a World War that shaped their lives.

BUT, lest I sound like someone who has prejudged them as stodgy, staid and immutable, let me refer my readers to a wonderful picture book by a first time author named Elina Ellis.

Born in the Ukraine and now living in England, Ms. Ellis has a lot of generational wisdom to share in “The Truth About Grandparents.”

And she does it with loads of humor.

Winner of the Macmillan Prize for Illustration, Ms Ellis’ picture book takes one on a blow out, fun, full throttle into the truth, and all tongues perfectly in cheek ride into a revelatory look at grandparents.

At the helm is a grandchild who freely and openly admits at the outset, beneath hanging portraits of his friendly open-faced grandparents that:


“My grandparents are really old.

They have wrinkly faces,

A little bit of hair and funny teeth.


I’ve been hearing lots of strange things about old people.

Some people say they are



This might seem a tad severe, EXCEPT, the illustration beneath the quote is the grandparents and the red and white stripe-shirted lad yelling their heads off on the down slope of a roller coaster!

Grandad has both hands up in the air,  just like his grandson, and grandma gamely clings to her rather large chapeau.

It’s a giggle!!

What’s to follow are words describing grandparents as SLOW, CLUMSY, NOT BENDY, SCARED of new things, they don’t ever DANCE and they definitely don’t care for ROMANCE, QUIET, and NOT AT ALL ADVENTUROUS.

Ms. Ellis defies and denies these stereotypical assumptions about grandparents with riotous illustrations that are a hoot and a half in their energy, color, and joy as both sides of the age spectrum, experience and share life with one another.

All serve to prove the descriptions as VERY short sighted, if not completely ill-judged.

It’s a welcome, funny, enriching and howling success at bridging the generational gap.

While it may not be everyone’s experience with grandparents, it does give one some necessary food for thought, and maybe even some suggestions on future shared activities.

What’s that saying?

“Age is just a number.”



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