Around the Table that Grandad Built


These are the napkins sewn by Mum, these are the blue glasses from Mum and Dad’s wedding… Every item on or ‘Around the Table that Grandad Built’ has a special memory and purpose.

We read the words to the tune of ‘This is the House that Jack Built’ and join the preparations. We see the plates- red, orange and yellow- as they’re carried to the table. Which one would we choose? We smell the bread, fresh baked by Gran! What’s more, we hold hands around the table for the meal that’s been prepared. For this beautiful picture book is like a welcome feast of delight and nourishment. Furthermore, it offers opportunity to discuss different foods from different backgrounds; here huckleberry jam and tamales are served. What would you choose?

While this title is obviously American, there is a wealth of information and joy offered that makes it universal. The gentle text begs to be read together and thereafter recited. The pictures offer a sense of familiarity; we can work out the feelings and relationships. There’s almost a ’60s sense of belonging suggested by this book. Bookwagon delights in ‘Around the Table That Grandad Built’. 


Around the Table that Grandad Built

Melanie Heuiser Hill, illustrated by Jaime Kim

(Walker Books)– hardback

‘Around the Table that Grandad Built’ are a family and friends and memories. We see ‘sunflowers picked by my cousins’. There are ‘napkins sewn by Mum’ and ‘plates- red orange and yellow-‘. We recite the text and watch the preparations build. Who is seated around the table? Furthermore might be served for dinner? It seems like there will be a celebration. Therefore, how has this family’s tradition developed?
There is a familiar rhythm to this picture book for the text is that of ‘This is the House that Jack Built.’ There’s also a familiarity in the warmth and practice of the family. Perhaps you can recall the unsteadiness of carrying a plate. Maybe you wonder at Grandad building a table!
The pictures are bold and primary and large so that we feel included. It seems like there are spare blue glasses and forks and spoons and knives. We love the change of perspective toward the end of the story, as we watch and wait with the diners…
‘Around the Table that Grandad Built’ develops toward a meal like Lunch at 10 Pomegranate Street. This is an inviting, inclusive picture book. Bookwagon recommends it to younger readers at bedtime or mealtimes at home or school.


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