Gramps and the Shield Bugs
by Louise Peregrina
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Pub Date 28 Jul 2022 | Archive Date 11 Nov 2022
A shy young carer’s life is transformed when she is sent away to the country – and through her bravery and quick thinking becomes the unlikely village heroine.
Caz is fed up. Life has been tough since Dad left. Why does she always have to do everything? What is wrong with Mum? Why is her brother always so angry?
When Mum is rushed into hospital she is packed off to stay in a cluttered cottage in the country with her grandfather, who she barely knows. What sort of man is he?
Despite her initial misgivings, Caz gets used to his old-fashioned ways and settles into the slower pace of village life, even having an exciting adventure along the way. The two form a close relationship; her trust and confidence builds as she learns about the natural world around her, while he learns a thing or two about the pressures of growing up in the modern world.
In this emotional and ultimately uplifting story of family relationships, we see how older and younger generations can learn from each other. In just a week, life can begin to look a whole lot better.
A Note From the Publisher
Available on NetGalley
Average rating from 4 members
Gramps and The Shield Bugs is a charming and well written coming-of-age story for middle grade readers written by Louise Peregrina. Released 26th July 2022, it's 166 pages and is available in paperback and ebook formats. It's worth noting that the ebook format has a handy interactive table of contents as well as interactive links and references throughout. I've really become enamored of ebooks with interactive formats lately.
This is a sensitively written story. When families break apart, and when parents are suffering and depressed, it inevitably affects the younger members of the family, often with more impact, given that they have fewer coping mechanisms and less power to make improvements. This story revolves around a family in crisis, and young protagonist Caz is sent to visit her paternal grandparents for a while.
It's written in first person point of view, through Caz's observations and feelings in an honest and age appropriate manner. I found Caz sympathetically written and compassionate. This would be a good choice for public or school library acquisition, gifting, and home use.
Four and a half stars.
Disclosure: I received an ARC at no cost from the author/publisher for review purposes.
I love that this book is written from the point of view of a young carer. Throughout the story you can hear Caz's frustration around the fact that grownups are expecting her to do adult things like cook, clean and take care of her younger brother, but aren't willing to treat her like an adult when it comes to telling her what is going on. It's also hard to read how much she wants to keep things a secret and how hard she finds it to share what is going on for her and her family. It's clear that part of Caz wants to pretend that everything is ok and part of her doesn't know any different; the way she thinks that this is the way her life is and how it has to be.
When she goes to stay with Gramps, she is so worried that she'll get bored and won't know what do to with herself without her care responsibilities. It's so nice to see her start to relax and become a child again. And to see the adults in her life begin to step up and help out so that things don't go back to the way they were.
I think this book is so important for children who are young carers, so they know that there are people who will help them if they ask for it. It's also important for people who have never lived through the experience, to help them understand how challenging life can be as a young carer.
Gramps and the Shield Bugs by Louise Peregrina - 4.5/5
Gramps and the Shield Bugs is a beautiful story told from the point of view of a young caretaker. I love that the story opens up about vulnerabilities in families that so many shy from speaking out about. Lots of families struggle and it is refreshing to read a story that speaks to your soul about families that break apart, suffering, depression. What if can cause in a family and how each person responds to it can be triggering to read but is also beautifully written here. This is a great story, and I do believe many could benefit reading a story that involves a young caretaker and how that life can impact others.
Thank you NetGalley for the ARC.
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