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The Run-aways

by Ulf Stark
Illustrated by Kitty Crowther
Translated by Julia Marshall from the Swedish

Published by Gecko Press, 2019
129 pages
ISBN: 9781776572335

Ages 7-11

Grandpa is stuck in the hospital after a bad fall, and he’s not happy about it. He swears a lot, makes unreasonable demands of his nurses, and complains about the food. When Gottfried Junior suggests they run away together, Grandpa likes the idea. He wants to make a final trip to the house on the Stockholm archipelago where he and his late wife lived. Gottfried plans the escape down to the last detail: He concocts a story about an overnight football team trip (dirtying his uniform convincingly), convinces his mother to make him some meatballs (Grandpa’s favorite), and arranges for the butcher’s assistant to drive them. At his old home, Grandpa collects the final jar of homemade lingonberry jam from the cellar and takes a moment to reflect on the life he had with his beloved wife. Gottfried Junior is sensitive, patient, and accepting of his grandfather for who and how he is. The two come to terms with the fact that Grandpa is nearing the end of his life in this tender yet humorous story. ©2020 Cooperative Children’s Book Center

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