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The Gift Boat by Peter Dickinson
Published by Macmillan Childrens Books, 2004
ISBN 1405035161

Reviewed by Kilmihil Library Children’s Book Club

This book is set in Scotland, in a village called Stonehaven. Gavin is a ten year old boy who lives with his mum, grandmother and grandfather. His father works away at sea and his mother and grandmother work full time. Gavin is looked after by his granddad and the two get along really well. Granddad makes model ships as a hobby and is making one for Gavin for his birthday. Gavin decides to call his ship Selkie after the story that his Granddad told him about seals that turn into people when on land.

One day, without warning, Granddad has a massive stroke and can’t move or speak. Gavin is sure that inside the helpless body his real granddad is trapped wanting to get out. Gavin goes to visit his granddad as often as he can to see if he can get through to him. With some magical help from the selkies, Gavin finally sees an improvement in his Granddad.

The group found the ending a bit too sudden and would have liked to know if Gavin’s Granddad did leave hospital or make a full recovery. They felt that Gavin making daily visits to a hospital, miles from home was somewhat far fetched. Their favourite characters were Gavin and his grandmother.

Rating: 5 out of 10