Grandpa Frank’s Great Big Bucket List – Jenny Pearson

Illustrations – David O’Connell

Eleven year old Frank, son of Frank, has just inherited £462,000 from a step-grandmother he never knew. Her will says that the money needs to be spent to look after Frank Senior Senior, the grandfather Frank has also never heard of. 

So in the course of one conversation, our Frank has more money to spend than he ever imagined possible and a brand new grandpa. Frank comes up with an ingenious plan to spend the money in style while also getting to know his brand new relative. 

This is the story of our Bucket List and the things I’ve learned along the way. Like old people are actually quite buoyant when dunked in water and true happiness doesn’t come with a price tag. 

Although you may not think of hot air balloons as “wicker floating deathtraps” yet, you will after reading this book. There are some close encounters with ponds and you’ll gain new perspective on swimming with dolphins, as well as some other grandpa approved activities. There’s a bit of a Murphy’s law vibe to everything the youngest and eldest Frank attempt and that brings the humour I was expecting.

What I wasn’t expecting was to also feel so sad for most of the book. Kid Frank’s parents leave a lot to be desired; I wondered on a number of occasions if Matilda Wormwood was available to mete out her unique brand of justice. Grandpa Frank’s falling out with his son and its impacts made me want to cry. I also dreaded the end, not wanting to read what I suspected would happen. It wasn’t the light hearted, fun book I’d hoped for and because of that I almost stopped reading it several times.

I’m an outlier here. Most of the reviews I’ve read so far have given this book five stars and haven’t even mentioned the sadness I encountered hanging out with this dysfunctional family. I’d encourage you to read some of those before deciding if this is the book for you or not. Maybe I’m overthinking it but I wanted kid Frank to spend at least some of that money on some family therapy.

Thank you so much to NetGalley and Usborne Publishing for the opportunity to read this book. 

Rating: 3.5 out of 5.

Once Upon a Blurb

When Frank John Davenport inherits piles of money from a grandma he didn’t know he had, things take an unexpected turn…Because the money comes with STRICT instructions …and a NEW grandpa.

Frank quickly compiles a list of all the ways he can spend the money and look after his grumpy grandpa. Money may buy hot-air balloon rides, monster-truck lessons and epic parkour experiences, but can Frank discover that happiness is, in fact, priceless?

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