Harrison and Grandpa Build a Sandbox
by Sally Knox
Ideopage Press Solutions

"Grandpa was very happy to see Harrison, and when they got home he said ‘Harrison, you know what you need? You need a sandbox.’"

A young boy named Harrison is invited to help build a sandbox. Thus begins a special project between grandfather and grandson. They work together planning and creating a handsome sandbox for Harrison to enjoy that is both long-lasting and memorable. Yet even with careful planning, there are still some hiccups along the way, like forgetting to buy a few necessary materials which sends them back to the store on more than one occasion. Harrison and his grandfather are never fazed by these minor inconveniences, and here Knox playfully keeps a running joke about how much money they spend. But Harrison and his grandfather understand that no amount of money can ever replace the fun of the experience and the gift of time spent together.

In Knox’s touching tale, a boy establishes a physical and emotional bond with his grandfather. Knox juxtaposes the sandbox project through two different viewpoints. From the grandfather, Knox imparts important life lessons about decision making and planning, buying materials, and how to craft something honest with mind, body, and hard work. Through Harrison’s eyes, seeing the transition of ‘just pieces of wood’ into an actual sandbox is symbolic of childhood and the nurture of generational relationships. Knox’s narrative maintains a well-balanced mix of humor and determination with her two characters throughout. While at sixteen pages this story isn’t long, it seems a bit wordy at times for a children’s picture book, considering the age range for whom the story might appeal most. Sheila Morehouse Brady’s illustrations pair well with the narrative and are reminiscent of art in the Little Golden Books one might recall. Parents, kids, and grandparents will get a kick out of reading this uplifting story that is fitting for all ages to enjoy.

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