In Sally Carlson Knox’s picture book, a grandfather and grandson build a sandbox together, even as they struggle to remember everything they need for it.
Soon after Harrison’s grandfather arrives for a visit, he suggests Harrison needs a sandbox. “Are we going to buy one, Grandpa?” Harrison asks. “No….We are going to build one.” And so the two venture to the hardware store to purchase the lumber. The boy knows his father has some basic tools, but is unsure if he has the “nails, screws, bolts and nuts, and washers.” So Grandpa replies, “Well, we better buy what we might need so we don’t have to go back to the store.”
But, in fact, they end up going back to the store several more times: once for paint, then sand, then sandbox toys. With each purchase, the cashier announces the cost, and Grandpa repeats: “Harrison, you’re costing me a lot of money today. But we’re having fun, aren’t we?” Harrison always agrees.
On their last drive back home with the toys, Harrison falls asleep and his grandpa gently puts him to bed. Soon his grandfather nods off. The story concludes: “Building a sandbox makes little boys and Grandpas very tired!”
This is a sweet, simple story about how an interaction between a grandfather and grandson can be priceless, even as costs mount. Unfortunately, although adults will understand the gentle irony of the message, young readers may not. And while the plot is geared for picture book readers, the text is far too long to sustain little ones’ attention.
Original, colorful illustrations support the text well, but appear fuzzy, and because most pictures lack a background, they have an unfinished appearance. In addition, there are many punctuation errors.
Young readers will appreciate Grandpa’s loving patience throughout the project, but the book needs revision before it’s ready for a wide readership.
Also available in hardcover and ebook.