by Stark, Ulf; Crowther, Kitty (ILT)

The Runaways is an inter-generational adventure filled with warmth and humor from one of the world's great writers for children.

Grandpa hates being in hospital. He thinks only of the place he was happiest-the island where he used to live. He wants to go back, but they won't let him out of the hospital.

So Gottfried Junior, his namesake, helps Grandpa make a plan to run away. They think of everything. Their deception is so complete that when Gottfried Junior finally decides to tell the truth, no one believes him.

*Starred Review* Gottfried Junior loves visiting Grandpa in the hospital, where the patient routinely swears, spits out his pills, and yells at the staff. Soon they hatch a plan: they'll escape for an overnight in the isolated island home where Grandpa lived with Grandma before she died. The boy convinces his parents that he must attend an overnight football training camp. Actually, he springs Grandpa from the hospital. Back in his familiar home, Grandpa reconnects with his old life, feels his profound grief, and changes his outlook a bit. After returning his grandfather to the hospital, the boy intends to keep quiet about their caper. Instead, he suddenly confesses the whole escapade to his father who, ironically, scolds him for lying. A Swedish author whose picture books include When Dad Showed Me the Universe (2015) and The Yule Tomte and the Little Rabbits (2014), Stark writes Gottfried Junior's first-person narrative with clarity, honesty, and wit. This chapter book is blunt yet light-handed in acknowledging anger, sorrow, death, and the mystery of the afterlife. Deftly drawn and sometimes amusing, the character portrayals are utterly convincing. Expressive full-page illustrations add color to the pages while supporting the story's tone. An unusual adventure story with a core of mutual grandfather-grandson affection. Grades 3-5. Copyright 2019 Booklist Reviews.

A boy helps his ailing grandfather go home one last time in this Swedish import. Gottfried finds life enlivened by his feisty grandfather, who's always been "difficult." They are true kindred spirits. Confined now to the hospital with a broken leg and weak heart, Grandpa's "worse than ever." Gottfried's dad avoids hospital visits because Grandpa's naughty behavior and declining condition make him "tired and sad." He rejects Gottfried's plea to bring Grandpa to live with them, insisting he's "too sick and angry and stubborn and crazy." Pretending to be at football training, Gottfried visits Grandpa in the hospital and suggests they should run away. Lying to his parents about where he's going overnight, Gottfried surreptitiously transports Grandpa to the island house where he lived with Grandma until she died. Back home for one night, Grandpa happily reverts to his old clothes, savors Grandma's last jar of lingonberry jam, and says farewell to his old life before returning to t he hospital. Gottfried's accessible, unadorned, heartfelt first-person narration reveals the depth of his bond with his grandfather as well as his insightful understanding of his father's limitations. Linear, colored-pencil drawings capture key interactions between characters and revel in Grandpa's choler. Characters are white (or, in Grandpa's case, grouchily pink). A touching, realistic, gently humorous story of how a sensitive boy copes with his treasured grandfather's decline. (Fiction. 8-11) Copyright Kirkus 2019 Kirkus/BPI Communications. All rights reserved.

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